A GOP member of the Florida state House of Representatives recently admitted that people in his party hate gay people while defending a piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation.
Republican state Rep. Jeff Holcomb made the admission on Monday while arguing that opposition to a GOP bill to bar the U.S. military from implementing more inclusive policies was an attack on the military.
“I just can’t let our military be labeled as racist and discrimination [sic] without any, without a response,” Holcomb said.
He then claimed that the bill isn’t truly anti-LGBTQ because the Florida Republican Party is less hateful toward LGBTQ people than al-Qaeda or ISIS, describing the extremist groups as “folks that discriminate.”
“We bombed a building in 2017 like we never usually do. We bombed it because they threw homosexuals off that building,” Holcomb said.
“Our terrorist enemies hate homosexuals more than we do,” he went on, drawing audible gasps in the chamber.
Holcomb’s words come as Florida Republicans have introduced a barrage of anti-LGBTQ legislation over the past years, much of it under the guise of protecting children.
In April, Florida legislators expanded Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) discriminatory “Don’t Say Gay” law, restricting discussions on LGBTQ issues in K-12 public schools across the state. The state House of Representatives also recently approved a bill that would allow state courts to intervene in custody disputes and remove children who are receiving gender-affirming care from supportive families with whom they live — a measure that LGBTQ advocates have said essentially amounts to legal kidnapping.
In recent days, LGBTQ lawmakers in Florida have spoken about the effect that laws targeting LGBTQ people have had on their mental health.
“I have enough tears in my car to fill a lake,” state Sen. Shevrin Jones (D), who is gay, said in an interview that was published last week.
“I’m literally trying to exist,” said state Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby (D), a lesbian in the state legislature, adding that “the harsh things [Republicans are] saying” in promoting their anti-LGBTQ agenda “are to prop up a governor’s political ambition, and their desire and quest for power.”