Who is Eric Porterfield? What has the anti-LGBT Republican lawmaker said?

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

Eric Porterfield is a West Virginia Republican who has recently made headlines with his hateful, anti-LGBT+ comments.

In the last week, he has compared the LGBT to the KKK, and has also joked about drowning his kids if they were gay.

The Republican lawmaker, who was elected in November 2018, represents parts of Mercer and Raleigh counties in West Virginia.

The born-again Baptist missionary, who is blind, believes that anti-discrimination ordinances are against the First Amendment.

“The LGBTQ is a modern-day version of the Ku Klux Klan, without wearing hoods with their antics of hate.”

—Eric Porterfield, West Virginia Republican

Porterfield is West Virginia’s second blind person to serve in the state legislature.

Due to his recent anti-LGBT comments, which are listed below, the West Virginia Democratic Party has called for his resignation while many Republican colleagues have appeared to distanced themselves from the remarks.

West Virginia Republican Eric Porterfield used the word “faggot” in a committee meeting

Eric Porterfield first sparked outrage on February 6 in the West Virginia House of Delegates. He spoke in support of a bill that would allow anti-LGBT discrimination in regions that have passed ordinances criminalising it, The Gazette-Mail reported.

He called those ordinances “nonsense” and a “travesty.”

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.

Republican lawmaker Eric Porterfield sported a 'Make America Great Again' hat during his interview with WWVA

Republican lawmaker Eric Porterfield sported a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat during his interview with WWVA

He went on to call the LGBT+ community and its activists “the most socialist group in this country.”

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

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.”

West Virginia MetroNews reported that House of Delegates Chairman Gary Howell admonished Porterfield: “To the gentleman, watch what you call people.”

Eric Porterfield compares LGBT+ people to the KKK

On February 8, in an interview with West Virginia newspaper the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Eric Porterfield said he was being “persecuted” by LGBT+ people for his previous remarks.

The state representative then called the LGBT+ community a “terrorist group,” and he compared gay people to the Ku Klux Klan, saying that “the LGBTQ is a modern-day version of the Ku Klux Klan, without wearing hoods with their antics of hate.”

Fellow Republicans were quick to try to distance themselves from this comparison.

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)

“I hope that no one would make those kinds of statements,” Republican House Speaker Roger Hanshaw told the Gazette-Mail. “That sounds like nothing I would certainly ever agree with, but I would want to talk to him before I comment on what he said.”

Another Republican Delegate, Daniel Linville, also showed his disapproval. He said: “He’s wrong, very wrong. There’s just no excuse though for some of the things that he said.”

“When we talk, and when we say things, we need to represent our caucus, instead of putting us, our caucus, out on a limb,” added Republican Delegate John Mandt. “[Porterfield] is a great guy, I just would prefer that we don’t put people down if they do something that you don’t personally believe in.”

Republican lawmaker jokes about drowning his kids for being gay and stands by previous KKK comments

Addressing the controversy discussed above, on February 10, the outspoken Trump supporter had an interview with local TV outlet WVVA. He stood by his previous comments and also made a concerning joke about his children.

Asked how he would react if one of his children came out as gay, Porterfield said: “Well, my daughter… I would take her for a pedicure, I’d take her to get her nails done… and see if she could swim.

“If it was my son, I would probably take him hunting, I would take him fishing… then I’d see if he could swim.”

Asked what “see if he could swim” means, a smiling Porterfield replied: “I just want to make sure they can swim.”

Porterfield continued with his anti-LGBT remarks, saying that gay people are “bullies, tyrants and oppressors.”

He also brought up his previous comparison between the LGBT and KKK: “It will not be long before they’re burning rainbow flags in people’s yards… they are the modern-day version of the KKK without hoods.

“The KKK suppressed a particular group of people, and that’s exactly what the LGBTQ does. Their socialist agenda is to attack people who disagree with them.”

Porterfield added: “I wear my MAGA hat today, even though I’m very much in fear of the terroristic activities they engage in.”

The Republican, however, insists he is not homophobic, adding: “It’s not an anti-gay sentiment, it’s an anti-LGBTQ sentiment.”