LGBTQ community reacts to Mercer County delegate's discriminatory comments

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (WDTV)-- "There's not even a reason to refute the comments because they're so nonsensical," said Chris Mayo, Director of the LGBTQ Center at WVU.

Mercer County delegate, Eric Porterfield made demeaning comments to the LGBTQ community.

He told a reporter from the Charleston Gazette-Mail that they're "discriminatory bigots" and a modern day version of the "Ku Klux Klan."

"When you're at a university that's welcoming, like ours and you see somebody making a statement about our state and about values that aren't our state's values, I don't think, it's just disappointing," said Mayo.

Porterfield also spoke in support of an amendment that would overrule local ordinances that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.

Mayo says she and the students have had discussions about this and they're not going to let it define them.

"How are we going to make this a better place? How are we going to push against the kinds of ignorance that circulate and the kinds of fear people have," said Mayo.

"We should walk towards the people who are smiling at us and helping us out and stay away from the people who aren't," said Daniel Gallegos, a student worker at the LGBTQ Center.

Gallegos says this should be a nonpartisan issue and everyone should be supported.

"Even if the legislation doesn't necessarily support their views, they should have a way to say 'this supports people.' Not just Democrats, Republicans and Independents, but Americans that want to live [freely]," said Gallegos.

He says when he saw the comments in the newspaper he was stunned.

"It's completely nonfactual and it doesn't make any sense. It's a bunch of sensationalism just to get people to rise up against the gays," said Gallegos.

"It's just disappointing because we want West Virginia represented better than that," said Mayo.

The head of the West Virginia Republican Party denounced the comments saying they 'don't reflect the values of our country, our state and the Republican Party.'

Porterfield also made comments that the controversy will boost his chances of re-election.