A member of a local school board in Maine is suffering the consequences of his actions after posting homophobic statements on his Facebook page leading to calls for his resignation.
Over 150 residents of Stonington and Deer Isle signed a letter demanding CSD 13 School Board member William Shepard to resign following his Facebook posts opposing Pride Month and calling same-sex marriage a “rape of the natural world.”
Bangor News Daily reports Shepard was elected to a three-year term on the CSD 13 school board in 2020 after ousting incumbent Lawrence Greenlaw by one vote, 461-460.
“For those who took offense, I humbly apologize,” Shepard told attendees at a school board meeting Tuesday. But he added, “I will not ever apologize for my Biblical convictions.”
He also called out “the island gossip mill” saying he should be able to express his personal opinions on his own time as anyone else.
Declaring he was “in shock of the hatefulness” shown to him and his family, Shepard disregarded the calls for his resignation: “I respectfully decline your request.”
More than 150 residents in Deer Isle & Stonington have signed a letter demanding that a local school board member resign over anti-LGBTQ comments he posted on FB. They will present the letter to the school board tonight. https://t.co/Uh2qRVaLVW
— Bill Trotter (@billtrotter) August 3, 2021
According to local officials, other than voluntary resignation there is no legal mechanism to remove Shepard from his position on the school board.
Bangor Daily News noted that, while one hundred chairs had been set up at the local high school gymnasium in anticipation of a large crowd, only two dozen residents showed up for the meeting.
A local pastor, Dwight Dean of the Sunshine Advent Christian Church, spoke in support of Shepard saying, “What happens to diversity when only one viewpoint can be presented?”
Genevieve McDonald, a resident and member of the Maine House of Representatives, had shared screen captures of Shepard’s comments with the local newspaper before he deleted them amid the controversy.
McDonald criticized Shepard saying, “As a parent, I do not want my children to attend a school where the adults in leadership are failing to support the students and are instead contributing to their challenges.”
While Shepard offered his criticism of Pride Month back in June, McDonald praised locals for organizing the first-ever Island Pride event.
I’m proud of my community. Rather than be discouraged by hateful rhetoric, a group of folks came together to organize the 1st Island Pride event. #seasidepride #pridalwave 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/3EUoIZT4KY
— Genevieve McDonald (@Genevieve_Maine) June 23, 2021