RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is facing calls to resign from elected officials and LGBTQ advocacy groups over comments he made criticizing sexual education and likening gay and transgender people to “filth.”
“There’s no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth,” Robinson said at Asbury Baptist Church in Seagrove.
The state’s highest Republican executive officeholder, already the focus of criticism for trying to influence how racism can be discussed in public schools, is getting more pushback since Right Wing Watch, a project of the progressive advocacy group People For the American Way, posted the video on social media last week.
The Human Rights Campaign, Equality North Carolina, prominent Democratic lawmakers and the White House have condemned the remarks, with some demanding the lieutenant governor’s resignation.
“We are calling on Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson to resign for his disgraceful, hateful statements directed at LGBTQ+ people. If Lt. Governor Robinson still doesn’t understand how anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric is received in North Carolina, he should ask former Governor Pat McCrory,” Human Rights Campaign Interim President Joni Madison said in a statement, referring to McCrory’s 2016 gubernatorial election loss months after signing a bill compelling North Carolinians to use the restroom of the gender assigned at their birth.
The White House called Robinson’s comments “repugnant and offensive.” The state Republican Party and North Carolina’s two most powerful state lawmakers, House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger, have declined to comment.
State Sen. Jeff Jackson of Mecklenburg County, who is campaigning to be the Democrats’ 2022 U.S. Senate nominee, tweeted that Robinson’s comments revealed “real hatred.”
“Of course he should step down,” Jackson wrote. “This isn’t hard, folks. Basic decency is all we should need to agree on to see that.”
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s office has called Robinson’s June remarks “abhorrent,” but it did not respond when asked if the governor himself has anything to say on the matter, or if Cooper believes the independently elected lieutenant governor should resign. Among many largely bureaucratic activities, Robinson could preside as North Carolina’s top officeholder if Cooper chose to travel outside the state.
In a video posted on his Facebook page Saturday night, Robinson narrated over images depicting gay sex that were taken from “Gender Queer.” Robinson claimed the illustrated book “is currently in North Carolina schools,” though it wasn’t mentioned a single time in the 831-page report he released in August highlighting cases of alleged “indoctrination.” That report was designed to support a Republican bill that would have limited teaching about race if not for Cooper’s veto.