UPDATE: Ministerial group denounces delegate's anti-gay remarks

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CHARLESTON, W.Va (AP) - UPDATE 2/14/19
A ministerial group and a former delegate of Mercer County, West Virginia, have denounced disparaging remarks about the gay community made by the current county delegate.

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reported Thursday that the Bluefield Ministerial Association and former Republican Del. Marty Gearheart believe Del. Eric Porterfield's comments to be inappropriate.

Porterfield was criticized last week for calling the LGBTQ community socialists, discriminatory bigots, a terrorist group and a modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan.

Association member the Rev. Chad Slater says "Scripture is clear that all people are made in the image of God," which he says includes the LGBTQ community. Gearheart says Porterfield's comment limit his ability to do his job, which in turn mutes the county's voice.

The newspaper says Porterfield couldn't be reached for comment.

UPDATE 2/11/19
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."

ORIGINAL STORY 2/9/19
A West Virginia delegate who last week called gay people "discriminatory bigots" has told a reporter he thinks "the LGBTQ is a modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan."

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Del. Eric Porterfield made the new comments after calling to discuss a story on his earlier comments.

The Mercer Republican also told the reporter the gay community is a "terrorist group."

Porterfield said he is being persecuted for the remarks he made during a Wednesday committee meeting. He was speaking in support of an amendment that would overrule local ordinances that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.

In a news release the state Democratic Party chairwoman called for Porterfield's resignation.

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

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.

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2/9/2019 12:18:40 PM (GMT -5:00)