Republican West Virginia Delegate Eric Porterfield has ignited controversy with a series of recent homophobic statements, including comparing members of the LGBTQ community to the Klu Klux Klan.
Amendment to block local LGBTQ protections proposed
Porterfield expressed his controversial views about homosexuals during a House Government Organization Committee on Wednesday. Up for consideration was an amendment proposed by fellow-Republican Dean Jeffries, which would prevent local communities from passing ordinances outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Possibly mistaking the LGBT acronym for an organization name, Porterfield rose in favor of Jeffries’ amendment and said, “The LGBT is 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.”
As evidence of socialism among the LGBT community, Porterfield appeared to confuse socialism with censorship. He cited the experiences of controversial gay conservative Milo Yiannopoulos and his 2015 “Dangerous Faggot” college speaking tour, which was repeatedly protested by various student groups.
Whatever Porterfield actually meant by his comments, they were denounced by several Democratic Party members on the floor of the House the following day.
Even Republican House Speaker Roger Hanshaw expressed doubts about Porterfield’s positions.
“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.”
Eric Porterfield reaffirms statements
In an interview with the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Friday morning, Porterfield compared the gay community to a terrorist group.
“The LGBTQ is a modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan, without wearing hoods with their antics of hate,” he told a reporter.
Friday afternoon Porterfield went even further with a Facebook post, saying, “Last night and today, members of the LGBTQ have exercised hate crimes and threatened my safety. We have reported this to the Capitol Police in Charleston and I would like all of my friends to pray for the safety of me and my family.
“These vicious monsters are proving that they are the most bigoted and discriminatory people in America. Though they try to intimidate and bully and try to strike fear to me and my family, we ask the Lord to help us stand tall against their persecution and their leftist minions within the legislature.”
Caller invites Porterfield to a fight
The attacks Porterfield refers to include a phone call he received on Friday from a man who identified himself as a “faggot.” In a recording Porterfield played for the media, the man calls Porterfield a “f****** coward” and says he wants to fight.
“You bring as many people as you want,” the man said. “Bring it on.”
Porterfield, who is blind, also received a text referring to him as “slits for eyes.”
Clearly riled by the threats, Porterfield told a reporter, “I am terrified of these people.”
He also appeared to backtrack from his previous statements which directly criticized all homosexuals.
“I don’t personally believe homosexuality is right, but I don’t persecute gays,” he said, before explaining that the people he has been condemning are not part of the general gay community.
West Virginia Democratic Party Chairwoman Belinda Biafore is still calling for Porterfield to resign, however.
“First of all, Delegate Porterfield needs to resign,” she said in a statement. “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.
“His hate-filled remarks and actions speak volumes and so does the Republican Party’s silence,” she continued. “The Republican majority’s leadership needs to condemn these actions. Their silence is complicit and the people of West Virginia deserve better.”