(USA TODAY) — A West Virginia Republican lawmaker is facing bipartisan backlash after comparing LGBTQ people to the Ku Klux Klan and saying he would “see if (his kids) can swim” if they came out as gay.
Elected in November, Del. Eric Porterfield has called the gay community a “terrorist group” and said that he is being “persecuted” by the gay community because of comments he made during a House Government Organization Committee meeting, Charleston’s Gazette-Mail reported.
“The LGBTQ is a modern-day version of the Ku Klux Klan, without wearing hoods, with their antics of hate,” Porterfield said in an interview last week, the newspaper reported.
A blind, born-again Baptist missionary, the representative for Mercer County came under fire for a speech last week supporting a since-killed amendment that would have prohibited municipal non-discrimination ordinances protecting sexual orientation and gender identity.
Porterfield called LGBTQ organizations “opponents of freedom” and said “I don’t think it’s our job to legislate behavior” that day. The West Virginia Democratic Party called for his resignation two days later.
“West Virginia has no room for someone who expresses such hate,” Chairwoman Belinda Biafore said in a statement. “Let alone room for him to hold a public office where he is supposed to represent the people of West Virginia.”
The state’s Republican Party condemned Porterfield’s remarks on Monday: “These comments are unacceptable and we denounce them,” Chairwoman Melody Potter said in a statement. “They have no place in America.”
In a weekend interview with local TV station WVVA, Porterfield said what he would do if his kids came out as gay.
“Well, I will address my daughter first,” Porterfield said. “I would take her for a pedicure, I’d take her to get her nails done, and see if she could swim. If it was my son, I would probably take him hunting, I would take him fishing, then I’d see if he could swim.”