North Carolina lieutenant governor won’t resign over anti-LGBTQ+ remarks

White House joins condemnation of Republican Mark Robinson over comments on children, homosexuality and transgenderism

The Republican lieutenant governor of North Carolina has said he will not resign or back down over remarks in which he called transgenderism and homosexuality “filth”.

Mark Robinson, the first African American to hold the post, made the remarks in question at Asbury Baptist church in Seagrove, North Carolina, in June.

“There’s no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth,” he said, in video posted to social media.

“And yes, I called it filth, and if you don’t like that I called it filth, come see me and I’ll explain it to you.”

Condemnation extended to the Biden White House.

Andrew Bates, a deputy press secretary from North Carolina, said: “These words are repugnant and offensive. The role of a leader is to bring people together and stand up for the dignity and rights of everyone; not to spread hate and undermine their own office.”

Jeff Jackson, a Democratic North Carolina state senator and candidate for US Senate, joined calls for Robinson to quit.

“Calling many of your own constituents ‘filth’ means you have no intention of representing them,” he said on Twitter. “Our Lt Governor should resign and allow someone who is prepared to do the job to take his place. This wasn’t a dog whistle, folks. This was old school hate.”

But in remarks posted to Facebook on Saturday, Robinson remained defiant.

“Let me tell you plainly right here and right now: I will not back down,” he said.

“I will not be silenced and I will not be bullied into submission. I will continue to fight for the rights of our children to receive an education that is free from sexual concepts that do not belong in the classroom.”

He also said he would “fight for and protect the rights of all citizens, including those in the LGBTQ[+] community to express themselves however they want. That is their right as Americans and I don’t think that the government has any role in telling them otherwise.”

But he insisted “the idea that our children should be taught about concepts of transgenderism and be exposed to sexually explicit materials in the classroom is abhorrent”.

Joni Madison, interim president of the Human Rights Campaign, said Robinson should resign, for his “disgraceful, hateful statements directed at LGBTQ+ people”.

Madison also pointed a recent battle over discrimination which proved costly for the state.

“If Lieutenant Governor Robinson still doesn’t understand how anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric is received in North Carolina,” she said, “he should ask former governor Pat McCrory.”

In 2016 McCrory, a Republican, signed a so-called “bathroom bill” regarding the use of public and school restrooms by transgender people.

The law led to a legal battle with the US Department of Justice and boycotts by corporate interests. It was rolled back under the present governor, Roy Cooper, a Democrat.

“This is not the first time Robinson has shared his discriminatory views,” Madison said, “but it should be the last time he gets away with it as an elected leader. North Carolinians deserve better.”

Contributor

Martin Pengelly

The GuardianTramp

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