Republican State Sen. Phillip Wheeler of Kentucky is ignoring calls for his resignation after he made homophobic remarks against Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear for posing with a gaggle of drag queens during an LGBTQ rally at the state Capitol.
At a campaign rally for GOP Rep.-elect Richard White last weekend, Wheeler held up a photo on his cell phone of Beshear and a group of Derby City Sisters, the local chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
“This is what our Democratic governor is about today,” Wheeler told the crowd. “Take a look, these are the values the Democratic Party of today is out there trying to convince our children is the right way to live.”
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“Ladies and gentleman,” he continued, “this is not only a fight for the soul of America. It is a fight against evil, for just the forces of decency.”
“I would have never thought that there would be a day when we have people dressed in devil horns, celebrating with our governor in our beautiful Capitol … a place with much religious imagery, and yet we have a governor that celebrates it being defiled.”
A backlash ensued. Now, many Democrats are calling on Wheeler to resign.
Speaking to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Wheeler insisted his comments were not homophobic and he has “no problem” with gay people. In fact, one of his relatives is gay!
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“I have no problem with LGBT people being around children,” he insisted. “I love my [relative], I let him be around my children. If he came around my children dressed like that, I’d rethink my choice.”
What he was upset about were the queens’ costumes, which included devil horns and a KFC bucket repurposed into a nun’s habit.
“If they’re going to mock the Christian religion, I’m not interested in having a discussion with them,” Wheeler said. “They’re not going to convince me that it’s appropriate.”
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“We expect a certain amount of decency and decorum in our Capitol.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Beshear is defending the photo and says Wheeler’s comments were, without a doubt, homophobic.
“They were absolutely homophobic,” he Beshear said. “I don’t think he is the fashion police for the Capitol. I believe he owes each and every one of them an apology. They’re as much Kentuckians as anybody else.”
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And Marisa McNee, spokeswoman for Kentucky Democrats, called Wheeler an “embarrassment” to the state of Kentucky and called for him to immediately resign for making such “hateful, ignorant comments.”