After conservative Republican Eric Greitens resigned this month as Missouri governor amid charges of campaign improprieties and sexual misconduct, Mike Parson stepped in to lead the state. But when it comes to LGBT rights, Parson -- another right-wing Christian Republican -- may be even worse than his predecessor.
It was only last year that Parson gave an interview to the Midwest Baptist publication Word & Way where he was quoted as saying, "One of the things that's always difficult in today's time is the homosexual issue or with those type of issues that come up. I'm old school. I know how I believe. I know what's going to happen to these people."
It's not hard to interpret Parson's words; he thinks gay people are hell-bound.
Weeks after Parson took office as Missouri governor, he was asked about that infamous interview.
"I don't believe in discrimination against anyone," Parson told the crowd at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, according to the Springfield News-Leader. "My personal Christian beliefs tell me I don't believe that's a way of life that I believe in. But as far as anyone that lives that, that chooses to live that, that's their choice.
"I've been on the record as making sure that there was no discrimination against them and voted for that."
To his credit, Parson did support a failed 2013 bill that would have added housing and work protections for LGBT people.
Still, many remain furious at Parson's words and called for him to confirm clearly that he doesn't believe gay people are going to hell (not to mention that being gay is not a choice).
"[Parson must] recognize he's governor for all Missourians and apologize to the LGBTQ community for his divisive comments in Word and Way," the Missouri Democrats' state chairman, Stephen Webber, said in a statement, adding that Parson needs to "state unequivocally that LGBTQ Missourians are not going to hell."