A state senator says Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson should resign for calling homosexuality and transgenderism “filth.”
“There’s no debate here,” said Sen. Jeff Jackson, a Mecklenburg County Democrat. “This is open discrimination. It is completely unacceptable.
“Mark Robinson should resign.”
Robinson, a Republican, made the comments in June at Asbury Baptist Church in Seagrove, but part of the speech was posted Tuesday on the Twitter profile for Right Wing Watch.
“There’s no reason anybody, anywhere in America should be telling children about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth,” Robinson said. “Yes, I called it filth.”
His diatribe began when he told the crowd it’s child abuse to force parents to send their children to school, tell them where to send children to school, and then teach their children to hate America and that they’re racist.
He doesn’t care who dislikes what he said, he added.
Robinson’s spokesman, John Waugh, wrote in a statement to The News & Observer on Friday that Robinson’s statements focused on education. and how schools should focus on reading, writing and math.
“Topics surrounding transgenderism and homosexuality should be discussed at home and not in public education,” the statement said. “Our primary focus needs to be helping our students succeed, not on topics that should be discussed at home.”
Robinson’s comments at the church didn’t stop at LGBTQ issues. In a full video of the speech posted to YouTube, he calls people who support Critical Race Theory and defund police movements and the Black Lives Matter movement “morons.”
“Black lives do not matter to Black Lives Matter,” said Robinson, who is Black. “You know how I know that? Because if they did you know where they would be instead of being at the police station? They would be down there at the gang hangout, at the drug dealer’s house burning that down. They’d be down at the abortion clinic burning that down if Black lives really mattered.”
He called Black Lives Matters activists “socialist liars and nitwits” who lack truth and God.
‘HATEFUL RHETORIC,’ SAYS GOVERNOR’S OFFICE
“North Carolina is a welcoming state where we value public education and the diversity of our people,” said Jordan Monaghan, spokesman for Gov. Roy Cooper. “It’s abhorrent to hear anyone, and especially an elected official, use hateful rhetoric that hurts people and our state’s reputation.”
Attorney General Josh Stein said hate has no place in the state.
“Every single person in our state deserves respect — not only because it’s right, but because it’s necessary to build the kind of future we want for North Carolina,” Stein tweeted.
Senate Democratic leader Dan Blue said in a statement Friday afternoon that Robinson’s comments do not reflect the views of Senate Democrats, who stand with and value the LGBTQ community.
“At best, Robinson’s comments reinforce the need to better fund our schools so that we can ensure that students are not taught to hate each other for their differences,” Blue wrote. “It is our hope that no educator would ever teach their students to consider another person to be ‘filth’.
The Human Rights Commission, the oldest LGBTQ organization in the country, called for Robinson’s resignation Friday evening.
Equality NC also put out a statement on Twitter reminding the LGBTQ community that they are valid and worthy.
“It’s hard to find words to respond to this hatred. No one who thinks like this should be in a position of power in our state,” the tweet stated.
Kendra Johnson, director of Equality NC, told The N&O in a written statement that her organizations condemns Robinson’s “dangerous rhetoric.”
“At a time when LGBTQ people, especially those with multiple layers of marginalization, need a supportive state, Robinson offered transphobia and homophobia instead,” Johnson said. “No one who thinks like this should be in a position of power, and these discriminatory attitudes underscore the need for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections in North Carolina.”
A group of ministers representing the Metropolitan Community Churches, the North Carolina Council of Churches, the Alliance of AIDS Services Carolinas and the LGBT Center of Raleigh sent a letter to Robinson saying they are taking him up on his offer, made during his speech, to meet with anyone who disagreed with his statement.
Jackson sent a thread of nine tweets calling out Robinson for repeatedly attacking the LGBTQ community.
The senator said the position of lieutenant governor should not be held by someone who is “plainly and proudly discriminatory.”
Jackson, who is a candidate running to represent North Carolina in the U.S. Senate, warned that Robinson is gearing up to run for governor in 2024.
“If he runs, he’s all but certain to be the Republican nominee,” Jackson wrote. “He is immensely popular within his party — and I imagine he still will be, even after this.”
Jackson apologized to the LGBTQ community for Robinson’s comments.
“It tells a lot of wonderful people — our friends, family, neighbors — that someone who represents them thinks they’re all beneath basic dignity,” Jackson wrote. “No one should find that remotely acceptable.”
LAWMAKERS JOIN CONDEMNATION
Other lawmakers joined Jackson in condemning Robinson’s speech:
▪ “He was not fit for office as a candidate, [and] he’s not fit to serve as our lieutenant governor,” said former state senator and current U.S. Senate candidate Erica Smith, a Northampton Democrat,
▪ “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,” tweeted. Sen. Wiley Nickel, a Wake County Democrat, who echoed Jackson’s call for Robinson’s resignation.
▪ “I think it’s degrading and undignified,” said Rep. Marcia Morey, a Durham Democrat and member of the LGBTQ community. “I think he should apologize, and if he wants to be a leader in the state, he should act like one.”
▪ “He is clearly a very ignorant and petty fellow,” said Rep. Deb Butler, a Wilmington Democrat and member of the LGBTQ community, “He is just a very small-minded, little man in a big, gruff body, which makes him a bully. And nobody likes a bully, particularly an ignorant one.”
Robinson rose to power after a video went viral showing him chastising the Greensboro City Council for considering canceling a gun and knife show at the Greensboro Coliseum after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead.
Instead of criticizing the shooter, Robinson said, law-abiding gun owners should take the blame.
In November 2020, he was elected as North Carolina’s lieutenant governor. His win made him the state’s first Black Republican elected to a major office since the 1800s, The N&O previously reported.
Robinson has a long history of making comments against the LGBTQ community.
Even before he was elected, his Facebook posts called transgenderism a “mass delusion,” The N&O previously reported.
He’s used his platform to speak out against Critical Race Theory and updating social studies standards to teach about racism in America.
The N.C. Democratic Party tweeted: “The highest-ranking North Carolina Republican is, once again, spewing hateful and venomous rhetoric while the @NCGOP remains silent. Human beings are not ‘filth’ and no one who refers to them that way should be in office.”
Butler said North Carolina’s other Republican leaders need to condemn Robinson’s statements.
“Silence is complicity,” Butler said.
House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger have not commented on Robinson’s video and neither could be reached for comment.
Moore’s spokeswoman, Demi Dowdy, said he was in court Friday and couldn’t be reached until Friday evening.
Several Republicans, including political consultants for GOP lawmakers, took to Twitter about their views soon after the video surfaced.
Brent Woodcox, Berger’s senior policy counsel, tweeted: “There is no future for a political party that is anti-gay. There just isn’t a large enough constituency in this country for the attitude. The world changed. Some politicians are catching up.”
Moore’s former political consultant, Madison Downing, tweeted: “If people don’t call him out, then we’re enabling him. We are a big tent party, or this party is not mine anymore. We should embrace every person regardless of their orientation.”
Lawrence Shaheen Jr., a conservative lawyer and political consultant, tweeted: “Our NCGOP is a big tent party that should be accepting of any and all people regardless of their sexual orientation. Period. End of discussion. Jesus would not have wanted it any other way.”
Sen. Paul Newton’s political adviser Andre Beliveau also tweeted: “The reality is sometimes people who we largely agree with and identify with politically say things we don’t agree with and say it in a way that is hurtful. That’s a beautiful consequence of free speech. All I can do is promise to do my best to be civil and pray for God’s grace.”