OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A former Oklahoma City mayor and member of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents was rebuked Monday for comparing gay people to pedophiles and politicians who’ve recently resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Kirk Humphreys made the comments during a local TV public affairs show that aired over the weekend on KFOR-TV. An alumni group has called for his resignation, and the student body president encouraged the campus to voice its opinion on Humphreys’ “ignorant” words.
Humphreys and others were discussing allegations against Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, who has announced he’ll resign, and President Donald Trump when Humphreys began to ramble about other subjects. He said he was “going to make a lot of people mad today.”
“Is homosexuality right or wrong? It’s not relative, there’s a right and wrong,” Humphreys said. “If it’s OK, then it’s OK for everybody and, quite frankly, it’s OK for men to sleep with little boys.”
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LGBTQ advocacy groups Freedom Oklahoma called for Humphreys’ removal from the Board of Regents if he didn’t apologize. Executive Director Troy Stevenson said Humphreys’ comments were disheartening and dangerous for LGBTQ youth who are already harassed and bullied.
A staffer at Humphreys’ office said Humphreys was out of town Monday and unavailable to comment. Humphreys did not immediately reply to a voicemail left on his cellphone or an email seeking comment.
However, in a statement Monday night to The Oklahoman newspaper, Humphreys said that he regretted his statements, saying they “were not clear and led some people to believe that I was equating homosexuality with pedophilia. That was not my intention or desire.” He apologized for what he called his “lack of clarity.”
However, he reaffirmed that his “moral stance about homosexuality is that it is against the teachings of Scripture.”
University of Oklahoma President David Boren released a statement saying Humphreys was not speaking on behalf of the university. Boren said the school was committed to diversity and inclusiveness, adding: “I do not share his views on this matter.”
OU board of regents chair Clay Bennett, who also is chairman of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, said in statement Monday the rest of the panel disagrees with Humphreys’ views. Bennett said the board values students’ diverse perspectives, backgrounds and experiences.
Student government President J.D. Baker, in an open letter Sunday, called Humphreys’ comments “outright disrespectful, out of line and ignorant.” Baker said Monday that it wasn’t up to him to say whether Humphreys should step down.
“I hope that he’s a mature enough individual to understand the impact of his words and that he’ll make the decision for himself,” Baker said.
The president of the school’s LGBTQ Alumni Society called for Humphreys to resign.
A state lawmaker who appeared with Humphreys pushed back at him on the show, saying it was wrong to compare sexual misconduct and crimes to the legal behavior of consenting adults.
“Mr. Humphreys’ comments were disgusting, offensive, and just plain wrong,” Rep. Emily Virgin, a Democrat from Oklahoma City, later said on her Facebook page. “I unequivocally stand with the LGBT community.
Stevenson said his group planned to protest an Oklahoma City real estate project that belongs to Humphreys’ family business if he doesn’t apologize.
Humphreys, 67, was mayor of Oklahoma City from 1998 to 2003.