Del. Eric Porterfield (R-Mercer County) is standing by his statements about the "brutal monsters" "socialist" LBGTQ organizations even after facing threats and calls for his resignation.
Porterfield said he had to call the Capitol Police in Charleston Friday after receiving threats, one by a telephone call from a man who said he wants to fight him.
The firestorm and threats came, he said, after he spoke in support of an amendment in a House committee Wednesday that would not allow any protective classes added that are not already in state Code.
“It was just a simple amendment, not offered by me, to not add any protective classes … not already in state Code,” he said Friday afternoon. “That was it.”
The amendment, introduced by Del. Dean Jeffries, R-Kanawha, would basically not recognize LBGTQ as a protected group since it’s not in the state Code, and nullify ordinances that municipalities have passed to include them.
If the amendment, which was killed, would have passed both legislative bodies and approved by the Governor, no municipality in the state could allow LGBTQ individuals by law to have anti-discrimination rights.
Porterfield said it’s all about individual freedom and if someone owns a business they should be able to decide if a “lifestyle” is unacceptable to them.
Porterfield made specific comments on the LBGTQ organizations, which, he says, do not represent gay people.
“They represent a socialist activist agenda,” he said. “They are opponents of freedom.”
Calling them “brutal monsters,” he said the proof of that has already been demonstrated in the telephone threat.
Porterfield played a recording of the call, where a man identifies himself as a “f….t,” and calls Porterfield a “f…..g coward,” saying, "You suck," and asking Porterfield to call him out to fight.
“You bring as many people as you want,” the caller said. “Bring it on.”
Porterfield, who is blind and cannot fully open his eyes, also received a text referring to him as “slits-for-eyes.”
“I am terrified of these people,” he said, “I feel like the LBGTQ .. would be the Ku Klux Klan in the modern era without the hoods.”
He said he has also been attacked on Facebook and by Democrats.
WVDP Chairwoman Belinda Biafore called for Republican Leadership to denounce Porterfield's “hate-filled remarks and actions” and said he should resign.
"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. The Republican majority's leadership needs to condemn these actions. Their silence is complicit and the people of West Virginia deserve better."
Porterfield, who is also a minister (Blind Faith Ministries) in Princeton, said some Democrats “took those comments (he made about the amendment) and used them as political fodder,” spending “almost an hour on the floor ridiculing me.”
He said he does not agree with the “homosexual lifestyle,” but thinks people should live their lives the way they choose.
“This is not an us against them thing," he said. "We can disagree" but that does not mean any sort of threats or what he terms “hate crimes” are acceptable.
“It incited a hate crime against me and disparaging remarks about my disability … “ he said, adding that his freedoms have been attacked.
“I don’t personally believe homosexuality is right, but I don’t persecute gays,” he said, again emphasizing the “brutal and viscous people” that are not part of the general gay community but the ones he identifies with some LBGTQ organizations.
He said they want to “take our communities and force them to live” by their standards.
Porterfield said such an agenda can take away the rights of people who do not want to serve or house certain lifestyles, and taxpaying citizens should have a choice in the matter.
“That is your business if you do or you don’t (serve a particular lifestyle) that is a behavior that is not a protected lifestyle," he said.
Porterfield compared it to a landlord not wanting to rent to people whose behavior may include drinking and partying.
“It is about freedom and democracy,” he said. “It is completely about individual freedom.”
Porterfield referenced Virginian John Leland, a Baptist minister who helped James Madison to insist on the Bill of Rights.
“That (Bill of Rights) is why we don’t have a state church in America,” he said. “You have the right and freedom to disagree, but let me live my life within the scope of how I want to live it, without fear or threats.”
Porterfield, who was wearing a Make American Great Again hat Friday, also sent a screen shot of some of the texts of support he had received.
“Keep fighting the socialist scum trying to bury our country! We were born free, and we will remain free!”
“Keep standing for truth!”
“Right on, Eric. We All Behind Ya Brother!!!!”
Fellow 27th District legislators John Shott and Dr. Joe Ellington, both Republicans, were not familiar with the details of what Porterfield had said in committee and could not comment on it.