During a debate Tuesday on LGBT discrimination, North Carolina House Speaker Pro Tempore Paul “Skip” Stam distributed literature describing pedophilia, necrophilia and bestiality as “sexual orientations.”
Now, advocates for the gay and lesbian community want House Speaker Thom Tillis to explain his position on LGBT issues after the inflammatory comments by his second-in-command.
Tillis, in an emailed statement to WRAL.com, said Stam’s comments were “not helpful.”
The bill being debated Tuesday would have banned charter schools from discriminating during the hiring or admissions process because of “sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Stam distributed a handout from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which was originally published in 2000 and listed pedophilia, necrophilia, bestiality and prostitution as “sexual orientations.” The manual has since been updated to classify those as disorders.
“Sexual orientation is not defined anywhere,” Stam said. “I have here 30 different types of sexual orientation. I thought we should exclude pedophilia, masochism, and sadism, which are sexual orientations.
“Many, many sexual orientations are not ones you want to have teaching kids in school. You may think you know what you mean by this, but you don’t.”
North Carolina’s only openly gay legislative member, Rep. Marcus Brandon (D), shot back at Stam.
“Pedophilia is not a sexuality, and we cannot continue in this body to keep calling things something [they're] not. It’s offensive to a whole group of people,” Brandon said. “It is a disease and a problem that has to be addressed outside of this body. The bigger issue here, is that in the state of North Carolina, we continue to have policies that treat people like second-class citizens. The LGBT community is a part of that problem.
“You cannot go up into a charter school of private school for that matter and say, ‘I’m not going to accept black children.’ That is illegal,” Brandon said.
Rep. Tricia Cothman (D) said she was “disgusted” by the literature Stam handed out.
“I was extremely disgusted by what the speaker pro tem passed out to all members,” Cotham said. “I found his actions to be offensive, and he needs to realize that words and actions can do tremendous damage to people.
“Discriminatory and hateful comments or inferences of any kind should not be accepted or allowed and certainly should not be circulated with state resources. I will keep him in my prayers.”