RALEIGH — Republican N.C. Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is under fire by Democrats, as well as left-leaning press and activist groups, for comments he made in June at Asbury Baptist Church in Randolph County, where he called transgenderism and homosexuality as taught in public schools “filth.” Robinson has not backed down from his comments, however, and he has since given more detail on the type of lessons and books he was referring to.
While these comments were made months ago, they came to surface in social media posts by state Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenburg), who is currently in a primary campaign for N.C.’s 2022 U.S. Senate race. After an early lead in fundraising, Jackson’s campaign is struggling to keep up with former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, who, according to the Charlotte Observer, outraised Jackson $1.5 million to $900,000 in third-quarter fundraising.
“I am calling on our Lt. Governor, Mark Robinson, to resign,” Jackson said Oct. 7 on his social media. “As you can see from this video, he angrily referred to the LGBTQ community as ‘filth.’ Then he says, ‘Yes, I called it filth.’ There’s no debate here. This is open discrimination. It is completely unacceptable.”
In the post, Jackson linked a video of Robinson’s speech, with the lieutenant governor heard saying, “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. There’s no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth. And yes, I called it filth.”
In addition to Jackson, numerous pro-LGBTQ groups, like the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign, have condemned Robinson and called for him to resign.
Attorney General Josh Stein also released a comment on his Twitter, saying, “There is no place for hate in North Carolina. Every single person in our state deserves respect — not only because it’s right, but because it’s necessary to build the kind of future we want for North Carolina.”
The Democratic denunciations went all the way to the top, with White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates, a North Carolina native, releasing a statement to McClatchy News denouncing Robinson’s words: “These words are 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.”
But Robinson was not intimidated by the outrage and calls for him to resign, telling Spectrum News, “I said what I said, and I believe what I said.”
Robinson then released a video responding to the calls for him to resign and describing the kinds of lessons and books that he objects to.
“For several days now, I have been viciously attacked because of a clipped video where I talk about removing the sexualization of children from the classrooms in our public education system,” Robinson said. “Let me be clear, 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 government has any role in telling them otherwise. 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 went on to reference a report that his office published earlier in the year on indoctrination in the state’s public school classrooms. He brought up different books recommended for elementary students, like “George,” where Robinson said, “The main character is a biological boy in elementary school who wants to remove his genitals so he can become a girl.”
He then discussed “Lawn Boy” and “Gender Queer,” saying the two books are aimed at children and have sexually explicit material. Robinson showed pictures from the books containing nudity, oral sex and other sex acts between adult and minor males.
“I hate to put these in a video,” Robinson said of the images, “but I feel it’s necessary to show you exactly what I’m referring to. Now as you look at these photos, I challenge you to describe them as anything other than filth. These materials do not belong in public schools. For those who are calling on me to resign, for those that are saying that I don’t represent North Carolina values, let me ask you something: does forcing these [images] on children represent your values?”
Robinson said the entire controversy has been an attempt to “silence voices on the right,” but he concluded by saying, “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. 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. And I don’t care who doesn’t like it.”
Robinson also released a petition at markrobinson.com that has been signed by over 15,000 people as of Oct. 12. The petition says in part, “Democrats want full and complete control over your children’s education, even by forcing subjects that should be taught at home, not the classroom. Stand with Lt. Governor Robinson as he continues to fight for you and your family against the radical left.”