Republican who claimed gay rights mean you can ‘sleep with little boys’ will stay on school board
A Republican politician who claimed that gay equality means it’s okay to “sleep with little boys” has been reappointed to a school board, despite protests from parents.
Kirk Humphreys, the former Mayor of Oklahoma City, had made the shocking claim during a discussion on local TV station KFOR last month.
In the segment Humphreys clashed with Democratic Representative Emily Virgin, who had been discussing allegations of sexual assault by Senator Al Franken.
Responding to her concerns, Humphreys invoked Barney Frank – the first openly gay representative in US history.
Frank has not been accused of any sexual impropriety, but Humphreys suggested he was “morally wrong” for being gay.
When Rep. Virgin responded that she doesn’t think homosexuality is wrong, Humphreys cut in: “Well I do.”
He added: “It’s not relative. There’s a right and wrong. If it’s OK, then it’s OK for everybody, and quite frankly it’s OK for men to sleep with little boys if it’s OK.”
The comments led to a strong backlash against Humphreys, who faced pressure to quit the board of John Rex Charter Elementary School.
Dozens of parents at John Rex Elementary have called for Humphreys to leave the school board, while a petition has racked up hundreds of signatures.
But staggeringly, Humphreys was reappointed to the school board this week.
On Monday the school board members unanimously voted to reappoint Humphreys to the board, filling a vacant seat of a member who resigned.
His term now expires in 2019.
Phil Horning, who will succeed Humphreys as chair of the board, defended the decision to keep him on.
He told The Oklahoman: “I think we made the best possible decision that was available to the board on this issue.
“I realize some will agree, some will disagree and most will be somewhere in between.”
The politician was previously forced to resign from the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents.
But Humphreys insists he does not plan to resign from the school.
Speaking to The Oklahoman, parents at the school said he had threatened to pull funding and donors from the school if he is forced off the board – and has been accused of “bullying” parents urging him to quit.
One parent said of a meeting with Humphreys: “He went on to say homosexuality is morally wrong and you can’t expect him to make decisions outside of his moral code.
“That’s what does it for me. I don’t believe his moral code allows him to serve on the board and make decisions for our school, but he says he won’t resign.”
Humphreys said: “[The school] wouldn’t exist without me,. We put together a great board, it’s a great performing school, it’s highly desirable, and I continue to contribute the school.”
It would require a two-thirds vote by the school board to remove Humphreys.
In an initial statement, Humphreys apologised for “lack of clarity” while simultaneously failing to retract any specific point.
He said: “I regret that my comments on Flash Point regarding homosexuality were not clear and led some people to believe that I was equating homosexuality with pedophilia. That was not my intention or desire.
“I apologize for my lack of clarity and realize this has resulted in a strong reaction by some and has hurt people’s feelings.
“For clarification, my moral stance about homosexuality is that it is against the teachings of scripture.
“Although I know this upsets some people, it is my belief. In America we have the right to believe as we choose and to freely express that belief.
“For those that I have hurt, I’m sorry. For those who do not share my beliefs, I will defend your right to have a deeply held belief even if yours is different than mine.”
He later followed up with a second statement, which insisted: “I do not think that homosexuality in any way disqualifies a person from full participation as a citizen in our community – including service in public office.”
He added: “At no point in my public or private life have I sought to take any action that precludes or otherwise diminishes the opportunity for every person to be treated as equals.
“To be candid, I brought up Barney Frank as a partisan counterpoint in the heat of the moment. I intended to reference the scandal early in his career – and then simply couldn’t remember the details.
“At that point my argument went off the rails and I said some things that I deeply regret.
“Further I do not think it is right that I’ve hurt a lot of people. I know I should see to speak the truth in love. I failed to clearly convey what I believe to be true and my tone was not loving. I apologize for my failure.”
Troy Stevenson of LGBTQ group Freedom Oklahoma said: “We greatly appreciate Mr. Humphreys’ apology; however, this is the beginning of a dialogue, not the end.
“While we believe his words to be sincere, it is truly not Freedom Oklahoma with which he needs to make amends.
“It is the LGBTQ community of Oklahoma, and most importantly, youth across the state whose lives are so adversely impacted by harassment, intimidation, and bullying when leaders of Mr. Humphreys’ caliber set such an example.
“To this end, we along with Regent Humphreys’ we will be hosting a community forum at OU on January 18, so that the former mayor can hear the concerns of students and the community.
“Freedom Oklahoma’s primary mission is the protection of LGBTQ youth in the state of Oklahoma; and to that end, we want to make it clear that when anyone or anything threatens the safety or security of young people – we will use every fiber of our political, social, and financial capital to come to their defense.”
Democratic Representative Emily Virgin, who also appeared on the TV show panel, previously posted a statement condemning the comments.
She said: “By now you may have watched my appearance on Flash Point and Mr. Humphreys’ extremely unfortunate and offensive comments. I want to share a couple thoughts on the show.
“I was completely caught off guard by what I was hearing. I probably shouldn’t have been, but I had no idea that he believed the things he said.
“I was prepared to talk about Jerusalem, sexual harassment, and the state budget, so when Mr. Humphreys attacked the LGBT community, it took me a second to switch gears and make sure I really heard what I thought I did.
“I wish that my comments had been stronger and more forceful, but I can assure you I did the best I could under the circumstances.
“So, to be completely clear: Mr. Humphreys’ comments were disgusting, offensive, and just plain wrong. I unequivocally stand with the LGBT community. Always have. Always will.”
Check out the clip below:
Of course, homophobic lawmakers in the state have a chequered history.
Police recently released body cam footage of ‘traditional values’ politician Ralph Shortey, who fell from grace when he was caught in a motel room with a teenage male prostitute.
Shortey was a Republican state Senator and a senior member of Donald Trump’s primary campaign team in Oklahoma, but quit earlier this year after he was arrested on child prostitution charges.
The ‘traditional values’ politician, who is married with children, was discovered in a hotel room with a 17-year-old boy who, according to authorities, Shortey had hired as a prostitute.
While serving in the state senate, Shortey described himself as a defender of ‘traditional values’ and had routinely voted with his Republican colleagues on bills targeting LGBT people.
Just months before his arrest he had voted for a measure to allow business owners to discriminate against LGBT people.