'Reprehensible And Inappropriate': State Senator Calls LGBTQ People 'Filth' During Forum

An inflammatory comment made by an Oklahoma senator during a legislative forum in Tahlequah has sparked reaction from lawmakers.

Monday, February 26th 2024, 4:47 pm

By: News 9


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An inflammatory comment made by an Oklahoma senator during a legislative forum in Tahlequah has sparked reaction from lawmakers.

Senator Tom Woods (R-Westville), first reported by the Tahlequah Daily Press, called the LGBTQ community “filth.”

"I represent a constituency that doesn't want that filth in Oklahoma," Woods said, according to Public Radio Tulsa.

According to Public Radio Tulsa, Woods was responding to the death of a non-binary student in Owasso. He had been asked about legislation and the limited rights of trans youth, Public Radio Tulsa says.

Related: Investigation Into The Death Of An Owasso High School Student

Woods was sympathetic to the family who lost the student, but remained critical of LGBTQ people.

"We are a religious state. We are going to fight to keep that filth out of the state of Oklahoma, because we’re a Christian state. We’re a rural state. We want to lower taxes, and for people to live and work, and to go to the faith they choose," Woods said.

Woods released a statement Monday in which he repeats his empathy for the death of the student, but continues to criticize "radical ideologies." Woods' full statement can be read below.

Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat released a statement in response to Woods’ comments:

“Senator Woods and I have spoken, and I made it clear that his remarks were reprehensible and inappropriate,” Pro Tem Treat said. “I am of the belief that all people are image-bearers of God and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. His remarks were not in any way reflective of myself, the Senate Republican caucus, Senate leadership or the Senate overall. In my opinion, he had a serious lapse of judgment and it has distracted from the mission and good work we are attempting to advance on behalf of all Oklahomans.”

Leslie Osborn, the state labor commissioner, also released a statement:

"The recent horrifying remarks made by an Oklahoma Republican state senator, referring to members of the LGBTQ community as "filth" that he and his constituents do not want in our state, left me disheartened, disappointed, and disgusted. We must address the gravity of such hateful comments, which are unacceptable and have significant consequences.
"When I first became a member of the Republican Party and later pursued public office, people revered the Party for its small government stance, fiscal discipline, and compassionate conservatism.
"However, a faction emerged within the party characterized by hate and divisiveness, overshadowing the principles the party once held dear.
"The government's basic role is to create a societal framework where every citizen thrives and flourishes. Sadly, with the erosion of the separation between church and state, government officials have overstepped their boundaries, legislating and preaching morality.
"I am reminded of the age-old saying cautioning against trusting two types of individuals: Religious leaders who dictate how we should vote and politicians who dictate how we should pray. This adage has never been more applicable.
"I am pleased many Oklahomans stepped forward to unequivocally condemn the state senator's ugly statement. If you agree you must reach out to your government representatives and let them know you do not agree with this type of rhetoric.
"We must do more. We should rise above spewing hate and legislating condemnation for every citizen who does not look like us, vote like us worship like us or identify or love like us. We should practice compassion and strive to be a state where every citizen is recognized, valued, and respected."

Senator Woods released a statement responding to previous comments:

"Firstly, I want to say that a child losing their life is horrible. They were a victim of bullying and that is never okay. It is always a tragedy when someone loses their life. I said that Friday and I mean that still today. I hope anyone struggling in a similar position gets the help they need as soon as possible.
"I also want to say that I stand behind what I believe in. The groups and individuals who push gender reassignment on children in our schools, and anyone else who is trying to normalize behavior that shouldn’t be tolerated, is unacceptable in my mind.
"This is an agenda that is being forced on Oklahoma kids. My voting record speaks for itself. I supported legislation to keep men out of women’s sports and to protect children from being mutilated by transition surgery before they can make an informed decision.
"I will continue to push for a day when kids can be kids again and be free from the pressure of conforming to radical ideologies."
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