A peanut farmer in Alabama is reminding voters that in addition to myriad other problems with Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate is also very anti-gay.
Nathan Mathis shared his story with NBC News reporter Vaughn Hillyard and other reporters on Monday, explaining how he used to be anti-gay himself — until he lost his daughter, who was lesbian, to suicide when she was 23.
“Judge Roy Moore called her a pervert for one reason: because she was gay,” Mathis said. “If he called her a pervert, he called your child a pervert if she was gay or if your son was gay. This is something people need to stop and think about. He’s supposed to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution said all men are created equal. Well, how’s my daughter a pervert just because she was gay?” (Minor correction: The Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution, says all men are created equal.)
Mathis, who said he’s religious, clarified that he’s not claiming his daughter killed herself directly because of Moore. “I’m not suggesting that,” he said. “I was anti-gay myself. I said bad things to my daughter myself, which I regret. But I can’t take back what happened to my daughter. But stuff like saying my daughter is a pervert — sure, that bothered her.”
He added, “Now, you know, Judge Moore did not just say my daughter. He didn’t call my daughter by name. He said all gay people are perverts, abominations. That’s not true. We don’t need a person like that representing us in Washington.”
Nathan Mathis is here outside the Moore event. He tells me his daughter committed suicide and says Roy Moore called her a pervert because she was gay. “My sign says it all,” he said. pic.twitter.com/5qZnM0IyNJ— Andrew Desiderio (@desiderioDC) December 11, 2017
Mathis in 2012 wrote about his daughter in a letter to the Dothan Eagle, a local newspaper. “May God have mercy on us all,” he concluded. “I only know I miss my daughter Patti very much and I am grateful for having her as my daughter.”
Moore has a long history of anti-gay bigotry. As Alabama Supreme Court chief justice in 2002, he concurred with an opinion that said “homosexual behavior” is “a crime against nature, an inherent evil, and an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it.” In 2005, he said that “homosexual conduct should be illegal.” Last year, he was kicked off the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to enforce the US Supreme Court’s decision striking down states’, including Alabama’s, ban on same-sex marriage. He also compared that US Supreme Court decision to an 1857 ruling that denied black people US citizenship.
All of this communicates not just a personal opposition to same-sex marriage — which is still common among Republican politicians — but a personal hatred for gay people.
Between the multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Moore, his Islamophobia, his birtherism, and his bizarre slavery-tolerant comments, this plain anti-gay bigotry has gotten lost along the way. But Mathis offers a stark reminder that it’s there — and a tragic example of the real harm such hate can do when a society inflicts it on children.
If you or anyone you know is threatening suicide, please seek help: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 800-273-8255; the Trevor Project, which helps LGBTQ youth, can be reached at 866-488-7386; and the Trans Lifeline can be reached at 877-565-8860.