Eric Porterfield, a Republican member of the West Virginia House of Delegates facing calls to resign over several recent bigoted remarks, would “definitely not” drown his own children if he learned they were gay, he clarified Tuesday.
“In my office thinking about my wife and children,” Mr. Porterfield posted on Facebook. “I was thinking that if my kids did indulge in any type of sinful life, I would love them, pray for them, fast over them and seek the Lord to watch over them. I would not beat them, burn them, shock them or definitely not DROWN them.”
A Baptist preacher representing Mercer County in the state legislature, Mr. Porterfield has came under fire from fellow Republicans and Democrats alike as a result of several public comments he made disparaging to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, including most recently his response to a question posed during an interview aired over the weekend by WVVA TV.
“You have an adorable daughter and a precious son. What would happen if in a few years from now when they’re teens, young adults they came to you and said they think they might be gay or a lesbian?” he was asked Sunday amid facing criticism for the comments.
“I will address my daughter first. I would take her for a pedicure. I’d take her to get her nails done and see if she could swim,” Mr. Porterfield told WVVA TV. “If it was my son, I would probably take him hunting. I would take him fishing and see if he could swim.”
Melody Potter, the chairwoman of the West Virginia Republican Party, responded in a statement Monday renouncing the delegate’s “hateful” and “hurtful” comments.
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“We may disagree on policy, politics, and the direction of our state, but we can disagree civilly and respectfully because intolerant and hateful views hold us back, divide us, and hurt our state,” Ms. Potter said.
Belinda Biafore, her counterpart at the state Democratic Party, previously called for Mr. Porterfield’s resignation last week after he called members of the LGBTQ community “opponents of freedom” and “a modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan.”
“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,” Ms. Biafore said last week.
Mr. Porterfield was elected to the West Virginia Legislature in November 2018. He lost his vision as the result of a 2006 head injury and subsequently started Blind Faith Ministries, a “fundamental, independent Baptist mission organization,” according to its website.