Things got heated in the West Virginia House of Delegates on Wednesday when first-term Republican Delegate Eric Porterfield advocated for an amendment to House Bill 2699 that would have prohibited local municipalities from adding nondiscrimination ordinances that protect sexual orientation and gender identity.
Currently, only a handful of West Virginia cities (Martinsburg, Beckley, Fairmont, Wheeling and Morgantown) have non-discrimination ordinances that specifically address sexual orientation. There are no statewide protections for LGBT people in West Virginia.
Porterfield defended the amendment, introduced by fellow Republican Delegate Dean Jeffries, saying, "As legislators, I don't think it's our job to legislate behavior," according to MetroNews.
"This is discrimination against the first amendment and religious liberty, and the LGBT is the most socialist group and they don’t protect gays," the lawmaker added.
MetroNews also reports that he cited the homophobic slur 'f*ggot' as he referenced homocon Milo Yiannopoulos' 2015 campus speaking tour, "The Dangerous F*ggots Tour."
To be clear, the homophobic slur was chosen by Yiannopoulos, not Porterfield, for the title of the tour. But Porterfield's colleagues objected to the use of the word just as reasonable people would object to the use of the n-word.
The proposed amendment was ultimately killed in committee.
On Friday, Porterfield continued his attacks on the LGBTQ community, telling the Charleston Gazette-Mail: “The LGBTQ is a modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan, without wearing hoods with their antics of hate.”
The Gazette-Mail went on to add that Porterfield called the LGBTQ community a "terrorist group," and that he is being “persecuted” by the gay community in retaliation for his hateful comments.
Belinda Biafore, chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, issued a statement late Friday afternoon seeking the Republican’s resignation from the House of Delegates due to his inflammatory comments and language.
“First of all, Delegate Porterfield needs to resign,” said Ms. 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 alleges he has received threats via social media and voicemails.
He took to his Facebook to write:
“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.”
Porterfield, a Baptist preacher, heads up an organization called Blind Faith Ministries. The name is a reference to Porterfield being vision-impaired.