W.Va. GOP chief rebukes delegate who compared LGBTQ groups to the KKK

Del. Eric Porterfield | Courtesy: WV House
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — UPDATE (Feb. 11):

The head of the West Virginia Republican Party has denounced comments from a GOP member of the House of Delegates about the gay community.

State GOP chairwoman Melody Potter says in a statement Mercer County Delegate Eric Porterfield's comments were "hateful, hurtful, and do not reflect the values of our country, our state, and the Republican Party."

Porterfield said last week he thinks LGBTQ groups are "socialists," ''discriminatory bigots" and "a modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan." He also called the gay community a "terrorist group."

Porterfield says he received threats after earlier remarks in a committee meeting in support of an amendment that would overrule local ordinances which protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination. The amendment failed.

Potter says "intolerant and hateful views hold us back, divide us, and hurt our state."

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ORIGINAL STORY (Feb. 9):

A West Virginia delegate told a reporter on Friday that he thinks "the LGBTQ is a modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan."

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Del. Eric Porterfield made the comments after calling to discuss a story on controversial earlier comments. The Mercer Republican also told the reporter the gay community is a "terrorist group," saying he had received threatening voicemails and social media messages after earlier remarks in a Wednesday committee meeting became public.

Porterfield was speaking in support of an amendment that would overrule local ordinances that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. The amendment failed.

"The LGBT is the most socialist group in this country," he said at the meeting. "They do not protect gays. There are many gays they persecute if they do not line up with their social ideology."

Del. Danielle Walker, a black woman with a gay son, challenged Porterfield Wednesday in committee and again Thursday on the House floor.

The Monongalia Democrat told the paper on Friday, "Why do we need more hate? Why do we need more name-calling? Why do we need to reference other groups that illustrated so much hate and destruction and ugliness? Why do we need to do that?"

Some Republicans also criticized Porterfield's comments. Del. Daniel Linville, R-Cabell, told the paper, "He's wrong, very wrong. There's just no excuse though for some of the things that he said."

In a news release, the state Democratic Party Chairwoman Belinda Biafore called for Porterfield's resignation.

Porterfield told the paper the controversy will boost his chances of re-election.

Porterfield did not immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press on Saturday.