Taking offense to Porterfield

State Delegate Eric Porterfield has recently called the LGBT community “terrorists” and also likened us to the KKK. He made these comments in the context of a legislative debate on local “anti-discrimination” laws.

Well, I’ve got three responses both to him as well as to many who have responded vociferously against him: 1) I am NOT a terrorist; 2) I am also NOT politically correct; and 3) there are on this issue, as is usually the case on most issues, MORE than two sides to the matter. I want to explain my views because I’m not in either of the “two” camps being portrayed here.

OK, yeah, first, I’m gay. And I take offense at Delegate Porterfield’s gross characterization (well, not really “offense,” s’cause that’s so overdone; I really don’t care what he thinks of me and my partner of 23 years). He can have any thoughts and opinions he wants about my “lifestyle,” whether derived from religious, cultural, or other mores, so long as he (as an instrument of the government) is willing to otherwise just leave me alone. I’ll do the same to him.

It’s called “live and let live” and the spirit of that idea allows people with extraordinarily opposite views to get along in a free society.

I don’t identify with most of what seem to be the political sentiments of the groups that generally advocate for the LGBT community. But, really, calling the gay community terrorists and KKK’ers? Outrageous, but laughable. The gay community is not homogeneous (play on words intended), and has been the object of some truly horrendous laws in the not-so-recent past. Advocates for the gay community are decent people and deserve respect for speaking out thoughtfully and civilly on issues of individual rights and discrimination.

Delegate Porterfield seems to be as adept at getting attention throughout West Virginia as that socialist congresswoman from Brooklyn is at stirring the pot nationally. But why give his absurd comments so much attention? Maybe, just maybe, the outlandish, attention-getting, political comments of one edge of the political spectrum is just fodder for the attention-getting high dudgeon of his political antagonists.

However, and there’s often a valid “however” to be made, I think Mr. Porterfield has a point about these anti-discrimination laws. I think there’s no excuse for any governmental discrimination against the gay community. And anti-gay discrimination by the government is illegal, yes, even in West Virginia.

But how about the private sector? You don’t want to bake me a wedding cake, my partner and I will go elsewhere. You don’t want us to share a bed at your bed-and-breakfast? Fine, it’s your private property. We’ll leave you alone to wallow in your moral views.

I say to my friends in the gay community: “live and let live” works both ways. You’ve seen the “Co-Exist” bumper stickers with the letters in the symbols of various religions? OK, then, let’s co-exist with people whose religious views differ strikingly from our own. Let ’em go their way, we’ll go ours. There needn’t be a clash.

And, really when you take a step back and breathe, you can readily see that the Porterfield attitude is losing ground and we’re winning. Hoist a rainbow flag, we’ve won. He’s no threat to us. We can be gracious in victory.

Should local governments in West Virginia be allowed to tell private businesses and property owners who they can and can’t hire or sell to? If I make “widgets,” I should be allowed to decide who to hire to help me in my “widget” factory, what to pay them, and who I want to sell “widgets” to.

Oh, I realize that sentiment goes against the grain of current opinion. That’s why I say I’m not politically correct. But it’s my property, not yours, and not the government’s. I believe, with the Declaration of Independence, that we are born with the God-given rights of life, liberty, and property. The idea that the government gives “permission” for a business to operate and that therefore the government has the right to tell an individual or business who to hire or sell to is alien to my concept of liberty and limited government. The ONLY purpose of government at any level – federal, state, or local – is to protect our natural rights, nothing else.

I’m gay, pro-life, and libertarian . . . and “I vote” (as the saying goes). These days, though, I don’t fall into either of the left wing v. right wing camps, so it’s hard to know who to vote for. I just want to be left alone, “lifestyle” or property-wise, please. Is that asking too much?

— Buckley, a Hardy County resident, was the Libertarian Party candidate for West Virginia secretary of state in 2016.

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