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12/11/2017 18:04 EST

Former Oklahoma City Mayor Compares Gays To Pedophiles In Baffling Debate

Kirk Humphreys' remarks were deemed "disgusting" by lawmakers and advocates.

A former Oklahoma City mayor is feeling the heat after seemingly linking homosexuality to pedophilia in a Sunday interview

Kirk Humphreys, who is a member of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents and served as mayor of Oklahoma City from 1998 through 2003, made the eyebrow-raising comments on the Dec. 10 installment of “Flash Point,” a public affairs show that airs on KFOR-TV, an NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City. 

At the time, Humphreys was engaged in an intense discussion regarding the sexual harassment allegations against Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who is stepping down, with state Rep. Emily Virgin (D-Oklahoma City). 

Toward the latter half of the discussion, Humphreys questioned why Virgin, as well as other Democrats, had pushed Franken to resign while not asking former Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is openly gay, to do the same when he was in office.  

“So you’re asserting that there’s a right and wrong, and that people’s personal behavior matters in their public standing, and yet you defend Barney Frank,” Humphreys said in the interview, which can be viewed above. (His comments start at about 7:01) 

“Is homosexuality right or wrong? It’s not relative. There’s a right and wrong,”
he continued, after Virgin pressed for clarification. “If it’s OK, then it’s OK for everybody and, quite frankly, it’s OK for men to sleep with little boys.”

A representative of KFOR-TV quickly distanced the station from Humphreys’ remarks in a statement Sunday

“‘Flash Point’ has been on the air for more than 20 years. Every possible subject has been discussed over the course of those decades,” the statement read. “What has remained consistent is the policy regarding that political affairs program.... Neither the host nor the analysts or guests speak for KFOR and the sponsor of the program.” 

Virgin denounced Humphreys’ remarks as “disgusting, offensive and just plain wrong” in a lengthy Facebook post, saying she was “completely caught off guard” by Sunday’s exchange. 

“I wish that my comments had been stronger and more forceful, but I can assure you I did the best I could under the circumstances,” she added. “I unequivocally stand with the LGBT community. Always have. Always will.”

Late Sunday, University of Oklahoma Student Government President J.D. Baker also condemned the remarks as “outright disrespectful” and “ignorant”...

... while Suzette Grillot, who is the dean of OU’s College of International Studies, called them “entirely unacceptable.” 

But perhaps the most profoundly damning words came from Troy Stevenson, who is the executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, an LGBTQ advocacy group. 

“To compare gay men ― and specifically Congressman Barney Frank ― to pedophiles and sexual predators is a step way too far. LGBTQ youth are subjected to horrific harassment, intimidation, and bullying on a daily basis,” he wrote Sunday, “and having bias and hate validated by a public official and leader like Mayor Humphreys is disheartening and frankly dangerous.”

He invited Humphreys to have a “public conversation” around the remarks, adding, “I hope the former mayor knows the abuse of those kids increases every time someone like him makes a hateful statement ― like he did this morning.”  

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