North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson said Saturday that he "will not back down" as politicians call for his resignation over recently resurfaced comments in which he referred to "transgenderism" and homosexuality as "filth."
"Let me tell you plainly right here and right now: I will not back down," he said in a video posted to Facebook on Saturday. "I will not be silenced and I will not be bullied into submission. I will continue to fight for the rights of our children to receive an education that is free from sexual concepts that do not belong in the classroom."
In June, Robinson spoke at Asbury Baptist Church in Seagrove, North Carolina, where he made derisive comments about educating children about LGBTQ+ issues.
"There's no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth," the Republican politician was heard saying in video that was recently posted on social media. "And yes, I called it filth, and if you don't like that I called it filth, come see me and I'll explain it to you."
Deputy White House press secretary and North Carolina native Andrew Bates called Robinson's comments "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," Bates said in a statement Friday, according to CBS affiliate WNCN-TV.
North Carolina State Senator Jeff Jackson thanked the White House for "standing up to the discrimination." He urged Robinson to resign, along with North Carolina State Senator Wiley Nickel, who called Robinson "a disgrace and an embarrassment to our state."
"Calling many of your own constituents 'filth' means you have no intention of representing them," Jackson tweeted on Friday. "Our Lt. Governor should resign and allow someone who is prepared to do the job to take his place. This wasn't a dog whistle, folks. This was old school hate."
The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, also called for the lieutenant governor to resign for his "disgraceful, hateful statements."
"North Carolinians deserve better than these dehumanizing comments," the group's president, Joni Madison, said in a statement.
Robinson claimed on Saturday that he has been "viciously attacked" for his comments, and that "the media and the left" have tried to change his argument's focus.
"I will fight for and protect the rights of all citizens, including those in the LGBTQ community to express themselves however they want. That is their right as Americans and I don't think that the government has any role in telling them otherwise," he said. "However, the idea that our children should be taught about concepts of transgenderism and be exposed to sexually explicit materials in the classroom is abhorrent."
Robinson has created a petition, urging people to sign against "the radical left" and to stand up against "classroom indoctrination."
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