Dad who lost gay daughter to suicide protests Roy Moore rally
Alabama farmer Nathan Mathis speaks about his gay daughter's suicide and his opposition to Roy Moore's candidacy for Alabama's open senate seat.
Perhaps it was the man’s strong but plain-spoken rebuke outside a Roy Moore rally on the campaign’s final night, condemning the Republican candidate’s past comments condemning homosexuality.
Perhaps it was the admission of the man, a peanut farmer, that he too, had harbored some of the same anti-gay feelings.
Perhaps it was his sign, a photograph of his daughter, a lesbian who, he said, had killed herself when she was 23.
Alabama voters will go to the polls Tuesday to choose between Doug Jones, a moderate Democrat who came to prominence helping to prosecute Ku Klux Klan members as a U.S. attorney in the 1990s, and Roy Moore, a far-right conservative and former judge whose candidacy has sharply divided the party he represents and the electorate beyond.
The 74-year-old Mathis, a former county commissioner and state representative in Alabama, said he was speaking out against Moore because of his own experience with his daughter, Patti Sue.
He said that Moore’s comments on homosexuality amounted to calling gay people “perverts.”
“This is something people need to stop and think about,” Mathis said. “You’re supposed to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution said all men were created equal. But how is my daughter a pervert just because she’s gay?”
Moore, whose politics are sharply tinged by a rigid interpretation of Christianity, has a long track record of speaking harshly about gays. He has said that homosexual conduct “should be illegal,” that it is “an inherent evil, and an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it,” and that “sodomy is against the laws of nature.”
Mathis, who described himself as religious, said that he too shared some of those anti-gay beliefs.
“I said bad things to my daughter myself, which I regret,” he said. “But I can’t take back what happened to my daughter. Stuff like saying my daughter was a pervert, I’m sure that bothered her.”
“We don’t need a person like that representing us in Washington,” he said. “That’s why I’m here.”
He held a sign that noted the accusations that surfaced during the campaign by women who said that Moore made sexual advances toward them when they were teenagers.
“So that makes him a pervert of the worst kind,” the sign read. “Please don’t vote for Roy Moore!”
Moore has denied these allegations.
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