North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R) is rejecting Democratic demands for him to resign and dismissing criticism after a video in which he called the LGBTQ community “filth” surfaced.
“I’m saying this now, and I’ve been saying it, and I don’t care who likes it: Those issues have no place in a school,” Robinson said at Asbury Baptist Church in Seagrove, N.C. “There’s no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality — any of that filth.”
Multiple Democrats in the North Carolina legislature have called on Robinson to step down.
State Sen. Wiley Nickel, a Democrat representing the district which includes Raleigh, the state capital, called the lieutenant governor a “disgrace” and “an embarrassment” to North Carolina.
“I stand with the LGBTQ Community and hope you will join me in condemning this hate speech from the most senior Republican elected official in our state,” he tweeted Friday.
A Democratic U.S. Senate candidate also took to social media to criticize Robinson’s language.
“There’s no debate here,” state Sen. Jeff Jackson, who represents the district which includes Charlotte, the state’s largest city, tweeted. “This is open discrimination. It is completely unacceptable.”
“Mark Robinson should resign,” he added.
In a defiant Facebook video Saturday, Robinson said: “Let me tell you plainly right here and right now: I will not back down, I will not be silent, and I will not be bullied into submission.”
Robinson’s office did not immediately respond to messages Tuesday.
Criticism of the lieutenant governor has extended beyond the state and reached national levels.
Deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates called Robinson’s words “repugnant and offensive.”
“The role of a leader is to bring people together and stand up for the dignity and rights of everyone, not to spread hate and undermine their own office,” he said in a statement.
The Human Rights Campaign, one of the largest gay rights groups in the country, released a statement saying Robinson’s rhetoric reinforces the need for the Equality Act, a bill that would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“This is not the first time Robinson has shared his discriminatory views, but it should be the last time he gets away with it as an elected leader,” said Joni Madison, interim president of the organization. “North Carolinians deserve better than these dehumanizing comments.”
“This incident only reaffirms the serious need for comprehensive non-discrimination protections that would outlaw discrimination and make North Carolina a safer place for LGBTQ+ people to live,” she added.
This is not the first time Democrats have expressed concerns about Robinson’s lack of inclusivity that he often couches as religious beliefs.
The politician who was elected in 2020 while supporting former president Donald Trump previously called America “a Christian nation” — a term that critics view as discriminatory to the millions of Americans of other faiths and beliefs. He also described AR-15s and other semiautomatic weapons as gifts from God.
“Those AR-15s and Glock 9mms and .45 calibers; where do you think they came from,” he said in June at a church. “Who do you think inspired them? God knew the world he was putting us into, so he formed in our mind the ability for us to be able to defend ourselves from anybody who may threaten us.”
Calls to North Carolina’s two Republican U.S. senators — Thom Tillis and Richard Burr — for reaction were not immediately returned Tuesday.
Robinson’s worldview, among other concerns, is why Gov. Roy Cooper (D) abandoned his plans to run for the U.S. Senate.
“I’ve promised the people four years as governor and that’s what I want to do,” Cooper told Politico in March during a video interview. “We also have a Republican lieutenant governor and if you look at who he is and what he stands for, I’m not sure that North Carolina needs two years of that, because if I ran, I believe that I would win.”