CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Eric Porterfield, Republican member of West Virginia’s House of Delegates representing the state’s 27th District, has come under fire from Democrats and some members of his own party. Calls for his resignation followed, after Porterfield made a string of homophobic statements in the media and the House of Delegates itself.
During an interview with WVVA, Porterfield was asked what his reaction would be to his son or daughter coming out to him as gay or lesbian. Porterfield responded by saying he would see “if they could swim.” He wouldn’t come out and directly say he would drown his children and calls for him to clarify have gone unanswered. He also mentioned by name a woman he claimed was harassing him and went on to reveal the woman’s work place.
Prior to the interview, Porterfield was asked to resign after using a gay slur in committee, as he advocated for the overturn of local non-discrimination ordinances which include protections for LGBTQ individuals, when those are not included in state or federal law. He has previously referred to the LGBTQ community as a “terrorist group” and a modern Ku Klux Klan. West Virginia GOP Chair Melody Potter denounced Porterfield saying his statements were not reflective of Republican values.
Porterfield was made blind in a 2006 brawl which he refuses to discuss, citing outstanding legal issues. Prior to this he was a self-described “wild kid,” but went on to attend a Bible college and participate in “mission” trips. He is the founder of “Blind Faith Ministries.” He cut his political teeth on denying women’s reproductive rights when he and his wife led a boycott of a Mercer county OB/GYN who provided safe termination of pregnancies.
In response to calls for his resignation, Porterfield has doubled down on his comments and credited his detractors with helping his re-election efforts back in his district.