A West Virginia state representative compared the LGBTI community to racist hate group, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).
In an interview with the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Republican Rep. Eric Porterfield said, ‘The LGBTQ is a modern-day version of the Ku Klux Klan, without wearing hoods with their antics of hate.’
In the 8 February interview, Porterfield also referred to LGBTI people as a ‘terrorist group.’ He believes he is being ‘persecuted’ by the LGBTI community in retaliation for his remarks, as he allegedly received threats via Facebook and voicemail.
On Wednesday, 6 February, Porterfield used the homophobic slur f*ggot during a committee meeting, in the context of quoting the name of a speaking tour. Following this, he criticized the LGBTI community while arguing in support of a discriminatory amendment. The amendment, which was ultimately shot down, would have allowed for the discrimination of LGBTI people in cities that have passed ordinances forbidding it. Currently, the state of West Virginia does not protect LGBTI people from discrimination in housing, employment, and other areas.
‘The LGBT is the most socialist group in this country,’ Porterfield said. ‘They do not protect gays. There are many gays they persecute if they do not line up with their social ideology.’
Watch some of Porterfield’s remarks below:
House Speaker Roger Hanshaw responded on Friday to Porterfield’s remarks.
‘I hope that no one would make those kind of statements,’ he said. ‘That sounds like nothing I would certainly ever agree with. But I would want to talk to him before I comment on what he said.’
‘We’re not going to have a repeat of what happened last week, let’s leave it at that.’
Last year, there were talks of punitive action against Porterfield, ousting him from his position. Apparently, this has not come up again in light of his recent remarks.
Several Democrats have condemned Porterfield’s comments. Delegate Danielle Walker, a black woman with a gay son, was one of the most outspoken.
‘Why do we need more hate?’ Walker said Thursday on the House Floor. ‘Why do we need more name-calling, why do we need to reference other groups that illustrated so much hate and destruction and ugliness? Why do we need to do that?’
Even other House Republicans have been working to distance themselves from Porterfield’s remarks.
‘He’s wrong, very wrong,’ said Republican Delegate Daniel Linville. ‘There’s just no excuse though for some of the things that he said.’
Republican Delegate John Mandt didn’t appreciate Porterfield’s sentiments either.
‘When we talk, and when we say things, we need to represent our caucus, instead of putting us, our caucus, out on a limb,’ he stated. ‘[Porterfield] is a great guy, I just would prefer that we don’t put people down if they do something that you don’t personally believe in.’
Calling for resignation
Belinda Biafore, the state Democratic Party Chairwoman, called for Porterfield’s resignation.
‘West Virginia has no room for someone who expresses such hate, let alone room for him to hold a public office where he is supposed to represent the people of West Virginia,’ she said. ‘His hate-filled remarks and actions speak volumes, and so does the Republican Party’s silence.’