A county official in upstate New York is being urged to resign after it emerged that he said gay people should be sent to an island, where they’ll die out in 40 years.
George Langdon IV, a Republican member of the Albany County Legislature, has now apologized for the remark, but many people are still outraged, and a rally was planned for Friday to call for his resignation, Albany’s Times Union reports.
Langdon spoke last weekend at a seminar called A Return to Liberty Under the Constitution. Video of the Albany-area event shows him saying same-sex relationships are not “perpetual” and not in keeping with God’s design for humanity.
“Everything God does is sustainable, it’s sustainable,” he said in the video, which has been circulated on social media. “It’s perpetual. ... Sorry, when you have homosexual relationships, it’s not perpetual. Give them an island, they’ll be gone in 40 years. Because God created us this way. There’s so much common sense that needs to be applied to our policies, our procedures that we do in our government.” He also said the concept of separation of church and state is “bogus.”
The event featured many far-right speakers and was cohosted by William Tryon, who is facing misdemeanor charges tied to his participation in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol January 6.
Langdon’s comments drew swift condemnation. Among those calling for his resignation was Albany County Legislature Chairman Andrew Joyce, a Democrat. “It pains me to even remotely amplify the disgusting comments spewed out by Albany County Legislator George Langdon,” he said in a statement, according to the Times Union. “Listening to someone laughingly share an ugly, nightmarish scenario of our loved ones being ‘gone after 40 years’ shakes us all to our core, not only as public servants but as human beings. I call on him to apologize and resign. Not for 40 years, but forever.”
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy called Langdon’s remarks “wildly homophobic and hurtful” and said he should resign if they represent his thinking. Others criticizing him included Richard Conti, a gay man who serves on the Albany Common Council (governing the city of Albany) and Libby Post, an LGBTQ+ activist and business owner. “I think it’s pretty clear [Langdon] doesn’t value our lives,” Post told the Times Union. “We’re the other, they don’t think of us as human beings.”
Langdon issued a statement of apology Thursday. “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community and all others for the hurtful remarks recently made at a conference,” he said. “I have never been homophobic nor do I think any individuals should be placed on an island. I deeply regret my foolish off-the cuff comment that has caused so much pain. I commit to doing a better job of respecting diversity. I hope my years of past public service demonstrate genuine concern for all individuals. I will be taking time to reflect on how to best serve moving forward.”
Joyce said that’s insufficient. Langdon “can no longer represent the people of his district,” Joyce told Albany’s Fox affiliate. He said he cannot force Langdon out of the legislature, but he and Dennis Feeney, the body’s majority leader, have drafted a resolution to censure Langdon, and it will likely be voted on at the next meeting, set for April 12. The legislature has 30 Democratic members and nine Republicans, and all Democrats are expected to support the censure.
The House of Precise, an Albany LGBTQ+ organization, has planned a rally for 5 p.m. Friday to demand Langdon’s resignation.