Mark Chambers, the mayor of a small town in Alabama called Carbon Hill, has offered to step down after facing criticism for posting, then deleting, a Facebook post in which he suggested "killing out" LGBTQ people.
According to screenshots, the original post read: “We live in a society where homosexuals lecture us on morals, transvestites lecture us on human biology, baby killers lecture us on human rights and socialists lecture us on economics."
A Facebook friend of the mayor responded with the comment, "By giving the minority more rights than the majority. [sic] I hate to think of the country my grandkids will live in unless somehow we change and I think that will take a revolution.” To which Chambers responded, “The only way to change it would be to kill the problem out. I know it’s bad to say but without killing them out there’s no way to fix it.”
Local news station WBRC spoke to Chambers following his Facebook posts. According to the outlet, Chambers initially denied making the posts, hung up on the news station, then called back to acknowledge that he did in fact make the posts, but that his words had been taken out of context.
Chambers told the station that, although he denies that his comments were aimed at LGBTQ people, "if it comes to a revolution in this country both sides of these people will be killed out."
On Tuesday, Chambers attempted to apologize on Facebook: "Although I believe my comment was taken out of context and was not targeting the LGBTQ community, I know that it was wrong to say anyone should be kill [sic]."
According to WBRC, Chambers was formally asked to resign during a city council meeting on Tuesday. Despite telling a local paper earlier that day that he did not intend to resign, Chambers allegedly told the city council that he was willing to resign if necessary.
“He’s apologized profusely and said he was sorry, and he would do whatever it takes, even if it meant stepping down,” Council Member Reverend Clarence Colbert told WBRC. “I told him, 'Please don’t step down,' because his leadership has brought the city as far as it has.”
VICE reached out to Chambers and Carbon Hall City Hall for comment but has not heard back.
When it comes to LGBTQ rights, Alabama is one of the country's least-tolerant states. LGBTQ people in the state lack housing and employment protections, and have been blocked from adopting children. In the hours since Chambers' comments made headlines, people across the country have spoken out on social media and launched an online petition calling for his resignation.
Noel, a gay man who grew up in an Alabama town neighboring Carbon Hill, is one of them. On Tuesday, Noel, who asked to use a pseudonym to protect himself from harassment, encouraged his Twitter followers to call Chambers' office and demand his resignation. "When a person of power spews hate like that—whether it's privately or publicly—it empowers bigots to continue a vicious cycle of hatred, as they feel they can get away with it scot-free," he said. "If I lived in Carbon Hill, I'd go so deep into the closet that I would find a secret, secondary closet to live the rest of my days in—and nobody should ever have to live in that sort of fear."