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Unacceptable

No place for hatred or bigotry in public discourse

Little by little, public officials in West Virginia seem to be getting the message that expressions of bigotry of any kind are not acceptable.

Not so long ago, strong expressions of prejudice may have been frowned upon, but they were still tolerated. No more.

John Mandt Jr., a House of Delegates member from Cabell County, learned that recently. He resigned from the House after homophobic comments attributed to him were circulated online.

Mandt maintains he did not make the comments. “Everything electronic can be fabricated. It’s by design, my family, my business are being attacked,” he wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post. Mandt also reported he had been threatened.

That, too, is not acceptable. If Mandt is the victim of some sort of plot, let us hope the perpetrators can be unmasked.

Still, his haste in resigning from the House makes it clear he understands the gravity of the situation. So does House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, who said of the slurs attributed to Mandt, “I don’t care who said it. It’s wrong and I want everyone to know there is no place for hatred or bigotry in our state, our political discourse or the West Virginia House of Delegates.”

No, there is not.

•••

West Virginia native Brad Smith made it really, really big in high technology. He is executive chairman of Intuit’s board of directors.

This week, it was revealed Smith and his wife, Alys, have donated $25 million to West Virginia University.

It was a gift made thoughtfully. “West Virginia will always be home,” Smith commented, adding “and I see so much possibility in its natural beauty.”

To that end, Smith’s gift will be used to support programs in outdoor recreation — which holds enormous promise for our state’s economy. WVU President E. Gordon Gee called the gift a “commitment to reshaping our state’s future…”

Indeed it is. Bless the Smiths for making a big donation that may make a really big difference.

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