Kentucky state senator Phillip Wheeler. (Kentucky General Assembly)
Kentucky state senator Phillip Wheeler is refusing to resign after making “homophobic” comments about “evil” drag queens.
At a campaign rally for Republican state representative Richard White last weekend, Wheeler held up a photo of the Democratic governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, with a group of drag queens at an LGBT+ rally at the state Capitol.
Wheeler said: “This is what our Democratic governor is about today. Take a look, these are the values, the Democratic Party of today is out there trying to convince our children this is the right way to live.
“Ladies and gentleman, 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.”
According to the Lexington Herald Leader, the Kentucky Democratic Party are now calling for Wheeler’s resignation.
A spokesperson told the publication that Wheeler has a “history of bigoted attitudes”, and added: “It’s time for Phillip Wheeler to go.
“He’s an embarrassment to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and his hateful, ignorant comments do not have any place in the Statehouse. If Senator Wheeler does not resign, the Senate must censure him immediately.”
But Wheeler has insisted that he is not homophobic, he stands by what he said and he will not resign.
He said that he was offended by what the drag artists were wearing, as one had horns and another had fashioned a nun’s habit from a KFC bucket.
Wheeler said: “If they’re going to mock the Christian religion, I’m not interested in having a discussion with them.
“They’re not going to convince me that it’s appropriate. We expect a certain amount of decency and decorum in our Capitol.”
According to Queerty, he added that he couldn’t be homophobic because he had a gay relative, and said: “I have no problem with LGBT people being around children.
“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.”
Beshear said of Wheeler’s comments: “They were absolutely homophobic. I don’t think he is the fashion police for the Capitol.”
The governor said that the group of drag queens who perform to raise money for charity, the Derby City Sisters, deserved an apology from Wheeler.
He continued: “I believe he owes each and every one of them an apology. They’re as much Kentuckians as anybody else.”