Humphreys reads statement of apology for homophobic comments

By Robin Dorner
Editor in Chief

December 10th is a day in 2017 which Kirk Humphreys will likely not forget. It’s the day he asserted on KFOR’s Flash Point that homosexuality is the reason for moral decline, using Barney Frank to compare homosexuality to pedophilia. Afterward, a public outcry ensued.

Read: Former OKC Mayor blames homosexuality for moral decline.

Today, in a press conference held by Freedom Oklahoma, the state LGBTQ advocacy group, Humphreys read this statement:
            I have watched the show more times than I can count – and I am sorry. Some of the things I said do not reflect what I believe or the way that I have tried to live.
                Let me be clear; I do not think that homosexuality in any way disqualifies a person from full participation as a citizen in our community – including service in public office. At no point in my public or private life have I sought to take any action that precludes or otherwise diminishes the opportunity for every person to be treated as equal.
                To be candid, I brought up Barney Frank as a partisan counterpoint in the heat of the moment. I intended to reference the scandal early in his career – and then simply couldn’t remember the details. At that point, my argument went off the rails, and I said some things that I deeply regret.
                Further, I do not think that it is right or appropriate to equate homosexuality with pedophilia. Preying on children is always wrong, no matter who you are or what political view you hold.
                Perhaps my greatest regret is that I’ve hurt a lot of people. I know I should always seek to speak the truth in love. I failed to clearly convey what I believe to be true and my tone was not loving. I apologize for my failure. Thank you.

Stevenson said he feels the apology is sincere, but to reiterate his own comment on the December 17th episode of Flash Point, “I believe you have the freedom of speech, but I don’t believe people have the freedom from consequences.”

Read: Is Humphreys apology too little, too late?

Stevenson said the next steps need to be taken with the entire community and not just a few leaders in a room. He also said this is not accepting an apology for the community as a whole, but to begin a dialogue.

Humphreys refused to take any questions, but there will be a joint forum at the University of Oklahoma on January 18th where he will answer questions. The student body of OU will be present, and the event will be open to the public. Humphreys will take questions with Stevenson and J.D. Baker, OU’s student body president.

More details about this meeting will be available in the coming weeks.

“I believe that he made it very clear in his statement to us that he did not believe the same things that he said on Flash Point.”

Today Humphreys said preying on children was wrong. On air, Humphreys said homosexuality was wrong and there “is only right and wrong.”

But Stevenson said they are not backing down, “We intend to completely, wholeheartedly intend to hold people responsible for their actions. Horrible things are said sometimes. But we have to find a way to move forward as a community. We have to find a way to heal wounds, and we have to find a way that we can all work together and get past all the vitriol in society.

“Our primary mission at Freedom Oklahoma is the protection of LGBT youth and the protection of youth across the state. We very much appreciate that the mayor understood that when leaders of his caliber make comments like that, it greatly impacts the lives of young people. Owning that is the first step in an open dialogue about how we make lives better for young people.”

Groups who have spoken out publicly against Humphreys statements, requesting his resignation from all boards on which he sits, particularly those having to do with youth.

Read: OKCPS Board Chair, others ask for Humphreys resignation.
          Parents speak out against Humphreys homophobic remarks.
          OKC’s PFLAG gets vocal against Humphreys homophobic comments.

Stevenson said there would be an ongoing conversation about Humphreys resigning from the boards he serves, but that is a conversation they will have behind the scenes. However, he added that he does not feel Humphreys should serve as the President of the OU Board of Regents next year as slated.

Humphreys missed last week’s regularly scheduled meeting of the OU Regents.

Read: Humphreys absent from OU Regents meeting.

Stevenson said there would be a Regents meeting this Thursday at 10 a.m. to discuss this matter. The meeting will be open to the public, but location of meeting is pending.

“The most important thing we can do is use any opportunity for education. To bring more people together rather than separating them apart. The level of vitriol that’s built up over the last week was reaching a crescendo, and I’m not sure where it could have gone. Our biggest worry is about how that affects young people.”

Baker said meeting privately with Humphreys was very productive. “I think we had a very candid and honest conversation. As long as we move forward with what we agreed upon, I think a good resolution will come out of it.”

Baker asked Humphreys to resign from the OU Board of Regents last week, however now he does not feel the same way about Humphreys. “I believe we can move forward in a productive way.”

Humphreys holds leadership positions not only on the OU Board of Regents, the board of John Rex Elementary School and OG&E’s Board of Directors. His participation on these boards is questioned by the community with some asking, “does his performance demonstrate respect and inclusivity in an affirming manner?”

Copyright The Gayly 12/19/2017 @11:16 a.m.