A Trump-supporting West Virginia Republican delegate who is under fire for comparing gay people to the Ku Klux Klan and calling LGBTQ organizations “opponents of freedom” and “brutal monsters” said he’d like to see if his children could “swim” when asked what he would do if they came out as gay.
West Virginia House of Delegates member Eric Porterfield (R-Mercer County) was asked by a WVVA reporter “what would happen” if his son or daughter came to him years from now and revealed that they might be gay or lesbian.
“Well, I would dress my daughter first, as I would take her for a pedicure, I’d take her to get her nails done, and see if she could swim,” Porterfield said with a smile.
“If it was my son, I would probably take him hunting, I would take him fishing, then I’d see if he could swim,” the MAGA hat wearing lawmaker added.
“What do you mean you would see if they can swim,” the reporter asked, appearing somewhat shocked by his answer.
“I just want to make sure they could swim,” he repeated with a grin.
“What do you mean by that,” she asked again with what appeared like nervous laughter.
“That’s it. I mean I would take them out to do activities,” he replied.
“Okay,” the reporter said before moving on.
What would Del. Porterfield do if his son thinks he’s gay or if his daughter thinks she’s a lesbian? He would “see if they can swim.” It’s disturbing how quickly the WVVA reporter moves on. pic.twitter.com/ESb3EswfZz
— Jake Jarvis (@JakeJarvisWV) February 11, 2019
Fairness West Virginia, a statewide LGBT civil rights advocacy organization says, “We think it’s quite clear what he meant.”
We think it’s quite clear what he meant.
Call Senate President Carmichael’s office (304 357-7801) and Senate Majority Leader Tom Takubo’s office (304 357-7990) TODAY. Tell them to put LGBTQ nondiscrimination (SB 391) on the Judiciary Committee agenda now! pic.twitter.com/El63uGzUhH
— Fairness WV (@FairnessWV) February 11, 2019
“The LGBTQ [sic] is a modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan, without wearing hoods with their antics of hate,” Porterfield said in an interview Friday morning, Charleston’s Gazette-Mail reported.
Porterfield also called the LGBTQ community a “terrorist group” and claimed that he is being “persecuted” in retaliation for comments he made during a House Government Organization Committee meeting two days earlier, the newspaper reported.
The legislator first came under fire following his speech during Wednesday’s committee meeting in support of an amendment that would have prohibited municipalities within the state from adopting non-discrimination ordinances protecting sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Gazette-Mail reported that Porterfield used the anti-gay slur “fa-got” in a committee meeting, within the context of quoting the name of a speaking tour that uses the term in its title.
“As legislators, I don’t think it’s our job to legislate behavior,” he said at the committee meeting. “This is discrimination against the First Amendment and religious liberty, and the LGBT is the most socialist group and they don’t protect gays. There are many gays they persecute if they do not line up with their social ideology.”
“They represent a socialist activist agenda,” Porterfield said Wednesday about LGBT organizations. “They are opponents of freedom.”
Belinda Biafore, the chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, issued a statement Friday afternoon seeking Porterfield’s ousting from the House of Delegates over his “hate-filled remarks and actions.”
“First of all, Delegate Porterfield needs to resign,” said Biafore. “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.”
Porterfield claimed in a social media post Friday that he had contacted law enforcement after continuing to face harassment from LGBT activists over his support of the amendment.
“These vicious monsters are proving that they are the most bigoted and discriminatory people in America,” Porterfield wrote on Facebook. “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.”
The proposed amendment to House Bill 2699 was ultimately killed in committee.