North Carolina’s lieutenant governor said that straight people are “superior” to gay people in a church sermon last week, where he also claimed that there are only “two genders” and asked about the “purpose” of heterosexuality.
“If homosexuality is of God, what purpose does it serve? What does it make?” asked Mark Robinson, a Republican expected to run for governor in 2024. “What does it create? It creates nothing.”
The sermon, which was livestreamed, took place on Nov. 14 at the Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Having children, Robinson suggested, makes straight people better than gay people.
“These people are superior, because they can do something these people can’t do,” he said. “Because that’s the way God created it to be. I’m tired of this society trying to tell me it’s not so.”
At another point, Robinson said, “Ain’t but two genders: male and female. Two. There are two genders. Male and female.”
“I don’t care how much you cut yourself up, drug yourself up, and dress yourself up,” he continued. “You’re still either one of two things. You’re either a man or a woman. You might be a cut-up, dressed-up, drugged-up, ugly man or a woman, but you’re still a man or a woman.”
Robinson’s comments were repeatedly met with enthusiastic applause in the church.
This isn’t the first time Robinson has spoken about LGBTQ people. In October, in another church sermon, he said, “There’s no reason anybody, anywhere in America should be telling children about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth.” Afterward, a Democratic state senator demanded that Robinson resign, while a White House deputy press secretary said Robinson’s comments were “repugnant and offensive.”
Robinson refused to step down.
“This whole thing has been an attempt to once again change the argument and silence voices on the right,” he said in a statement on Facebook. “Well, let me tell you plainly right here and right now. I will not back down. I will not be silent. And I will not be bullied into submission. I will continue to fight for the rights of our children that is free from sexual concepts that do not belong in the classroom.”
At multiple points in his most recent sermon, Robinson acknowledged that his comments would incite a backlash, as he repeatedly referenced Right Ring Watch, which tracks right-wing activity and disinformation.
Robinson’s rhetoric arrives in a year that has already seen staggeringly high violence against LGBTQ people. So far in 2021, at least 47 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been violently killed, according to a tally by the Human Rights Campaign.
Still, Robinson said that he would defend LGBTQ people’s rights.
“In America, you have the right to be a homosexual. And as an elected official, I have a duty to protect your constitutional rights,” he said. “And I will. But we in church right now. And we talking about church stuff.”
A spokesperson for Robinson did not immediately respond to a VICE News request for comment.