Last week Democrats in West Virginia called on Republican Delegate Eric Porterfield to resign after he made anti-LGBTQ remarks. Now Porterfield, appearing on a West Virginia news program to double down on his statements about LGBTQ people, ominously threatened that if his children turned out to be gay or lesbian he would take them out and "see if they could swim.” When the interviewer asked for clarification he just repeated the cryptic phrase.
“You have an adorable daughter and a precious son. What would happen if in a few years from now when they’re teens, young adults they came to you and said they think they might be gay or a lesbian?” WVVA TV reporter Rachel Anderson asked Porterfield.
“I will address my daughter first. I would take her for a pedicure. I’d take her to get her nails done and see if she could swim,” Porterfield replied.
“If it was my son, I would probably take him hunting. I would take him fishing and see if he could swim,” he said, grinning.
“What do you mean you would see if they could swim?” Anderson asked.
“I just want to make sure they could swim,” Porterfield responded, refusing to clarify exactly what he meant when he threatened to throw his kids into water and testing if they "could swim" if they came out as gay.
What would Del. Porterfield do if his son thinks he's gay or if his daughter thinks she's a lesbian? He would "see if they can swim." It's disturbing how quickly the WVVA reporter moves on. pic.twitter.com/ESb3EswfZz
— Jake Jarvis (@JakeJarvisWV) February 11, 2019
The politician, who made headlines last week for calling LGBTQ people “the modern-day version of the Ku Klux Klan,” began his segment with Anderson by talking about threats he’s received from LGBTQ people since his homophobic remarks were made public. He then dog-whistled to his supporters by mentioning a woman he said has harassed him by name and also revealing where she works.
Porterfield, who is the founder of Blind Faith Ministries, then leaned into likening LGBTQ people to the KKK.
“It probably won’t be long before they’re burning rainbow flags in people’s yards because they have no care for diversity of thought, and their message is simply hate,” Porterfield told Anderson.
“LGBTQ is suppressing the freedom of people that disagree with them and forcing their ideology,” he said.
Porterfield’s original statement occurred last Wednesday during a rant in favor of House Bill 2699, which would allow for discrimination against LGBTQ people in West Virginia cities where discrimination is currently prohibited.
“The LGBT is the most socialist group in this country,” Porterfield originally said. “They do not protect gays. There are many gays they persecute if they do not line up with their social ideology.”
He then invoked alt-right button-pusher Milo Yiannopoulos as proof of how LGBTQ people discriminate against other queer people.
“This is the name of his tour, this is not what I named his tour, but he was on what he referred to as the ‘Dangerous Faggot Tour’ and the LGBT stormed that building and did $200,000 worth of damage because he didn’t line up with their ideology. We cannot allow discriminatory bigots to determine how our citizens are going to live,” Porterfield said.
Democrats responded to Porterfield's statements by sending a letter calling for GOP leadership to denounce him and stating that he has no place in public office.
During Porterfield’s interview with Anderson in which he said he repeatedly said if his kids were gay, he would see if they “could swim,” he said that he refuses to resign.
The Advocate emailed Porterfield to clarify his intent in saying he would see if his kids “could swim” if they were gay. He has not responded.