Kentucky Democrats are calling for a Republican state senator to resign after he attacked Gov. Andy Beshear for posing with drag queens during a recent LGBT rally at the Capitol.
State Sen. Phillip Wheeler, R-Pikeville, made the comments last weekend at a campaign rally for GOP Rep.-elect Richard White.
“This is what our Democratic governor is about today,” Wheeler said. “Take a look, these are the values the Democratic Party of today is out there trying to convince our children 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.”
Wheeler later told the Lexington Herald-Leader he has a gay relative, and his comments weren’t anti-LGBT. Rather, he believes the drag queens’ costumes, including the devil horns and a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket crafted to look like a nun’s habit, were intended to mock Christianity.
“When you come in here with clothing and outfits that are just way out there, I have a problem with that,” Wheeler said. “I think we expect a certain amount of decency and decorum in our Capitol.
“I have no problem with LGBT people being around children,” he added. “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, meanwhile, is defending the photo.
“They were absolutely homophobic,” Beshear said of Wheeler’s comments. “I don’t think he is the fashion police for the Capitol. I believe he owes each and every one of them an apology. They’re as much Kentuckians as anybody else.”
Marisa McNee, spokeswoman for Kentucky Democrats, called Wheeler an “embarrassment” to Kentucky and said he should step down in the wake of the “hateful, ignorant comments.”
“If Senator Wheeler does not resign, the Senate must censure him immediately,” McNee said.
The Derby City Sisters, meanwhile, requested a sit-down meeting with both Wheeler and White.
Not surprisingly, Wheeler is refusing to resign or meet with the Derby City Sisters.
“If they’re going to mock the Christian religion, I’m not interested in having a discussion with them,” he said. “They’re not going to convince me that it’s appropriate.”
Watch a report from NBC 18 below.