A former Oklahoma City mayor is facing a storm of online criticism after he compared being gay to pedophilia in a segment on local NBC station KFOR.
Kirk Humphreys served as mayor in Oklahoma City from 1998 to 2003. He is now the co-chairman of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, and has hosted a political talkshow, Flash Point, on KFOR since 2008. On Sunday’s episode, Humphreys got into a heated discussion with Democratic representative Emily Virgin about the sexual harassment reckoning currently upending American culture.
Things took a turn when, during a discussion about Al Franken, Humphreys randomly told Virgin that he thought being gay was wrong and asked her why she and her fellow Democrats had not encouraged former Congressman Barney Frank to resign—because he is openly gay.
Behold, Humphreys’ baffling comparison:
“Is homosexuality right or wrong? It’s not relative. There’s a right and wrong, you just said it. If it’s OK, then it’s OK for everybody and quite frankly it’s OK for men to sleep with little boys if it’s OK.”
Virgin, visibly shocked, then pressed Humphreys on whether he thought the fact of Frank’s sexuality was somehow similar to the allegations against Franken. “Are you saying there was some inappropriate conduct on his part? Because I’m not aware of that,” she said. Humphreys doubled down in his response:
“I’m saying there is a standard of right and wrong. In our society we’ve gotten to where — I’m going to make a lot of people mad today—we’ve gotten to where there’s no right or wrong, it’s just all relative. It’s not all relative.”
Suggesting that relativity somehow extends to pedophilia (“If being gay is okay, then pedophilia must be too”) certainly isn’t an original Republican talking point, but still.
“For clarification, my moral stance about homosexuality is that it is against the teachings of scripture,” Humphreys said in a statement later. “Although I know this upsets some people, it is my belief. In America we have the right to believe as we choose and to freely express that belief.”
After a video of their exchange, Virgin expressed extreme discomfort with Humphreys’ comments in a statement released on social media. “Mr. Humphreys’ comments were disgusting, offensive, and just plain wrong,” she wrote. “I unequivocally stand with the LGBTQ community. Always have.”
Humphreys, however, has yet to encounter any consequences past social media outrage. J.D Baker, the University of Oklahoma’s Student Body president, wrote a letter on Sunday describing Humphreys’ comments as “outright disrespectful” and “ignorant” though he didn’t explicitly call for his resignation.
Here’s the full clip of Humphreys and Virgin’s exchange: