CHARLESTON, WV (WCHS/CNN) - A West Virginia state lawmaker is facing criticism from all sides of the political spectrum for a string of statements condemning the LGBTQ community.
But he does not appear to be backing down.
The amendment to House Bill 2699 was proposed to stop cities from adding non-discrimination ordinances that protect sexual orientation and gender identity.
The amendment failed but Mercer County delegate Eric Porterfield made some controversial comments regarding the LGBTQ community.
"This is discrimination against the First Amendment and religious liberty, and the LGBT is the most socialist group in this country,” said Porterfield.
Those remarks sparked a fiery debate on the House floor last Thursday.
Friday afternoon Porterfield stood by his remarks.
“Those were not anti-gay remarks, those were anti LGBTQ remarks that I make, because they are a political terrorist,” Porterfield said. “They are probably the closest thing to the Ku Klux Klan in the modern political era and they have already proven that.”
Porterfield said he’s standing up for the First Amendment’s religious freedoms which he claims the LGBTQ community threatens.
Some 12 cities across the state have added ordinances to protect their rights, including cities like Charleston and Huntington.
LGBTQ advocacy group Fairness West Virginia says those remarks give the state a black eye and expects more from elected leaders.
“They are desperate to try to stop this progress in its tracks and they’ve resorted to try to kill it through the legislative process,” said Andrew Schneider, of Fairness West Virginia. “People in his position have a special responsibility, a unique responsibility to take their words very seriously because people listen to them. People look to them as role models.”
The West Virginia Democratic Party has called on Porterfield to resign, and the state's Republican Party has officially denounced his words.
As for Porterfield, he says he's received threats since his comments became public.