West Virginia Republican compares LGBT+ people to the Ku Klux Klan

Eric Porterfield, a West Virginia Republican representative under fire for anti-LGBT remarks

West Virginia Republican Eric Porterfield has said that “the LGBTQ is a modern-day version of the Ku Klux Klan, without wearing hoods with their antics of hate.”

The state representative also called the LGBT+ community a “terrorist group” in an interview with West Virginia newspaper the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Friday (February 8).

Porterfield was responding to outrage sparked by comments he made on Wednesday (February 6) in the West Virginia House of Delegates.

A Ku Klux Klan member, just like the ones West Virginia Republican lawmaker Eric Porterfield compared the LGBT+ community to, salutes during an American Nazi Party rally at Valley Forge National Park September 25, 2004 in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania

West Virginia lawmaker Eric Porterfield called the LGBT+ community “a modern-day version of the Ku Klux Klan” (Thomas Cain/Getty)

During a committee meeting on an amendment that would have allowed for anti-LGBT discrimination in regions of West Virginia which have explicitly forbidden it, he said: “It is true that to not pass this amendment would be discriminating against people who have either religious convictions or who don’t want to run their business the way a socialist-left agenda wants us to run it.”

The amendment was later voted down.

The Republican lawmaker, who was elected in November, went on to say that anti-discrimination ordinances were against the First Amendment.

He then called LGBT+ activists “the most socialist group in this country.

“They do not protect gays. There are many gays they persecute if they do not line up with their social ideology.”

“We cannot allow discriminatory bigots to determine how our citizens are going to live”

— Eric Porterfield about LGBT+ people

Porterfield bemoaned LGBT+ activists’ attitudes towards far-right British agitator Milo Yiannopoulos and his “Dangerous Faggot Tour,” which Porterfield name-checked in the House of Delegates, causing backlash.

He added: “We cannot allow discriminatory bigots to determine how our citizens are going to live,” which radio network West Virginia MetroNews has reported led Chairman Gary Howell to hit the gavel and say: “To the gentleman, watch what you call people.”

In Friday’s interview, he said he was being “persecuted” by LGBT+ people for these remarks.

West Virginia Democrats condemn Eric Porterfield for his remarks

Democrats in the state have criticised Porterfield for his statements.

West Virginia Democratic Party chairwoman Belinda Biafore called for Porterfield to resign, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

“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,” said Biafore.

“His hate-filled remarks and actions speak volumes, and so does the Republican Party’s silence.”

Democratic Delegate Danielle Walker, who has a gay son, asked: “Why do we need more hate? Why do we need more name-calling? Why do we need to reference other groups that illustrated so much hate and destruction and ugliness. Why do we need to do that?”

She had positive words for those who have shown her support for speaking out, saying: “This is how we grow as a person, this is how we grow as a community, and this is how we grow as a state.”