North Carolina state senators are calling for Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson to step down, after a video surfaced showing him calling LGBT+ rights and views “filth”.
The clip was posted to Twitter on Tuesday by Right Wing Watch, which, according to its website is a project “dedicated to monitoring and exposing the activities and rhetoric of right-wing activists and organisations”.
In the footage, which was taken in June, Mr Robinson could be seen speaking at Asbury Baptist Church in Seagrove, North Carolina.
He said: “It is flat-out child abuse[...] When they get [to school], what do they teach them? Teach them a bunch of stuff about how to hate America, teach them a bunch of stuff about why they are racist, teach them a bunch of stuff about transgenderism and homosexuality.”
The Republican state official continued: “I’m saying this now, and I’ve been saying it, and I don’t care who likes it – those issues have no place in the school. There’s no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality – any of that filth. And yes, I called it filth, and if you don’t like it that I called it filth – come see me and I’ll explain it to you.”
CNN reported that Mr Robinson’s office said his remarks referred to education.
“Topics surrounding transgenderism and homosexuality should be discussed at home and not in public education,” his office said in a statement. “We must focus on reading, writing and mathematics in North Carolina. Our students have struggled with these topics even before the pandemic. Our primary focus needs to be helping our students succeed, not on topics that should be discussed at home.”
Democratic state Senators Jeff Jackson and Wiley Nickel called on Mr Robinson to step down immediately, describing his remarks as disgraceful and discriminatory.
“There’s no debate here. This is open discrimination. It is completely unacceptable,” Mr Jackson tweeted, adding: “Mark Robinson should resign.”
Mr Nickel also condemned the comments on Twitter, posting: “Mark Robinson is a disgrace and an embarrassment to our state - he should resign immediately.”
“I stand with the LGBTQ Community and hope you will join me in condemning this hate speech from the most senior Republican elected official in our state,” he wrote.
Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s office told CNN in a statement: “North Carolina is a welcoming state where we value public education and the diversity of our people. It’s abhorrent to hear anyone, and especially an elected official, use hateful rhetoric that hurts people and our state’s reputation.”