A former Oklahoma City mayor has drawn the ire of the LGBTQ community after controversial comments made on a political talk show. He not only stated that homosexuality is “wrong” but that its acceptance is a tacit endorsement of pedophilia.
During a heated discussion on Sunday about the slew of sexual harassment and assault allegations within the world of US politics, Co-Chairman of Oklahoma University’s Board of Regents Kirk Humphreys challenged guest co-host, and Democratic representative, Emily Virgin.
While discussing the case of disgraced Democratic Senator Al Franken, Virgin said she didn’t think homosexuality was wrong, to which Humphreys replied: “Well I do.” He then muddied the waters with a non sequitur by alluding to former US representative Barney Frank, an openly gay politician.
“Is homosexuality right or wrong? It’s not relative. There’s a right and wrong, you just said it. If it’s OK, then it’s OK for everybody and quite frankly it’s OK for men to sleep with little boys if it’s OK,” Humphreys said on NBC affiliate KFOR.
Visibly taken aback, Virgin replied: “I’m unclear on what Barney Frank did other than being a homosexual. Are you saying there was some inappropriate conduct on his part? Because I’m not aware of that.”
Humphreys went on: “I’m saying there is a standard of right and wrong. In our society we’ve gotten to where — I’m going to make a lot of people mad today — we’ve gotten to where there’s no right or wrong, it’s just all relative. It’s not all relative.”
Humphreys is chairman of the board for Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company and the CEO and chairman of the Humphreys Company, a real estate development firm. He was also the mayor of Oklahoma City from 1998 to 2003. He was appointed to the board of regents of Oklahoma University, of which he is an alumni, in 2012.
“Mr. Humphreys expressed his personal views on Flashpoint,” OU’s press secretary Matt Epting said in an email, as cited by OU Daily. “He was not speaking on behalf of the University of Oklahoma.” When asked for clarification after the show, Humphreys said he had no additional comment at the time.
“Flashpoint has been on the air for more than 20 years. Every possible subject has been discussed over the course of those decades. What has remained consistent is the policy regarding that political affairs program… Neither the host, nor the analysts nor the guests speak for KFOR,” the station wrote in an online statement, distancing itself from the controversy.
Troy Stevenson, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, an LGBTQ advocacy group, said in a statement: “Mayor Humphreys statements on Flashpoint this morning were completely shocking. To compare gay men – and specifically Congressman Barney Frank – to pedophiles and sexual predators is a step way too far.”
The Dean of Oklahoma University denounced Humphreys remarks saying, “Regent Humphreys’ comments are not only disrespectful, they are entirely unacceptable.”
As an academic officer and member of the OU community, I support our LGBTQ students, faculty and staff. All members of our community should be treated with dignity and respect. Regent Humphreys’ comments are not only disrespectful, they are entirely unacceptable. https://t.co/Vgs8v0h8ew
— Suzette Grillot (@suzettegrillot) December 11, 2017
During his time as mayor, Humphreys had at least one high-profile battle with the LGBTQ community.
“We are not talking about free speech here. We are talking about paid advertising,” Humphreys said in 2001 regarding a proposed city ordinance preventing banners being hung from city utility poles and bus benches by the gay rights advocacy group The Cimarron Alliance, reported WTVA.
In 2002, the Cimarron Alliance, which would later become part of Freedom Oklahoma, won a lawsuit against the city with banners reading: “For a Fair and Just Oklahoma,” hung along the city’s main boulevard’s shortly after the victory.
My thoughts on University of Oklahoma Regent Kirk Humphreys. Students, you are empowered to voice your opinion and create the university you desire. pic.twitter.com/QglPSSuASd
— Lame Duck President (@JD__Baker) December 11, 2017
“We cannot have leaders who have small-minded, inconsiderate ideas,” Student Government President J.D. Baker said in the statement. “Instead, we must have thoughtful, deliberate and respectful leaders who understand the value that each person brings to our institution. Right now, is the time we must ask, will the university be able to ‘Live On’ with a leader who possesses such insolent ideas?”