West Virginia Republican Eric Porterfield has said that “the LGBTQ is a modern-day version of the Ku Klux Klan, without wearing hoods with their antics of hate.”
Porterfield was responding to outrage sparked by comments he made on Wednesday (February 6) in the West Virginia House of Delegates.
During a committee meeting on an amendment that would have allowed for anti-LGBT discrimination in regions of West Virginia which have explicitly forbidden it, he said: “It is true that to not pass this amendment would be discriminating against people who have either religious convictions or who don’t want to run their business the way a socialist-left agenda wants us to run it.”
The amendment was later voted down.
He then called LGBT+ activists “the most socialist group in this country.
“They do not protect gays. There are many gays they persecute if they do not line up with their social ideology.”
“We cannot allow discriminatory bigots to determine how our citizens are going to live”
— Eric Porterfield about LGBT+ people
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Porterfield bemoaned LGBT+ activists’ attitudes towards far-right British agitator Milo Yiannopoulos and his “Dangerous Faggot Tour,” which Porterfield name-checked in the House of Delegates, causing backlash.
He added: “We cannot allow discriminatory bigots to determine how our citizens are going to live,” which radio network West Virginia MetroNews has reported led Chairman Gary Howell to hit the gavel and say: “To the gentleman, watch what you call people.”
In Friday’s interview, he said he was being “persecuted” by LGBT+ people for these remarks.
West Virginia Democrats condemn Eric Porterfield for his remarks
Democrats in the state have criticised Porterfield for his statements.
West Virginia Democratic Party chairwoman Belinda Biafore called for Porterfield to resign, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
“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,” said Biafore.
“His hate-filled remarks and actions speak volumes, and so does the Republican Party’s silence.”
Democratic Delegate Danielle Walker, who has a gay son, asked: “Why do we need more hate? 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?”
She had positive words for those who have shown her support for speaking out, saying: “This is how we grow as a person, this is how we grow as a community, and this is how we grow as a state.”