Metro Weekly

Republican candidate calls gay sex more lethal than smoking

State House candidate Hardy Billington believes that being gay cuts a person's life short by up to 30 years

Hardy Billington – Photo: Facebook

A Missouri Republican has claimed that gay sex is more lethal than smoking.

Hardy Billington, who is running for the Missouri House of Representatives, made his outrageous claims in two adverts published in a newspaper in Poplar Bluff, Mo.

“Study after study reveals that homosexuality, whether male or female, can take anywhere from 10, 20 to 30 years off of someone’s lifespan,” Billington said. “With all the attention on smoking, which the National Cancer Institute says takes from seven to 10 years off someone’s life, why not the same human outcry on homosexuality?”

Providing zero evidence to back up his claims, the 65-year-old added that homosexuality was “a behavior that’s killing people two to three times the rate of smoking, yet nobody seems to care. In fact, we are encouraging and affirming individuals into the ‘gay’ lifestyle.

“If you truly love someone, you would steer them away from self-destructive behaviours, rather than towards them, shouldn’t you?”

Billington then said that gay people need “tough love, not blind love,” adding that the citizens of Poplar Bluff should “extend that helping hand and say ‘I think you’re worth saving. Let’s work on it together.'”

Billington’s words have a chillingly similar rhetoric to that used by those who advocate for conversion therapy to try to “cure” LGBTQ people of their sexuality or gender identity.

His latest campaign also echoes an advert Billington took out in 2015, in which he encouraged Missourians to pray for the Supreme Court to reject same-sex marriage (his efforts failed, of course, when the court’s landmark Obergefell ruling legalized same-sex marriage nationwide).

Unfortunately, Billington is widely expected to win his election in November. Four-fifths of voters in his county picked Donald Trump in the 2016 election, and Billington is running unopposed on the Republican side and has amassed a sizeable cash pile to fund his campaign, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

His lone Democratic opponent, Robert L. Smith, a former circuit judge and assistant prosecutor, told the Post-Dispatch that he decided to run due to Billington’s views.

“I’ve known Hardy for 30 years, and I knew he had published those ads,” Smith said. “I don’t think it’s right to discriminate against people because of who they are.”

State Rep. Greg Razer, an openly gay Democrat who represents Kansas City, said that it’s people like Billington who shorten the lives of LGBTQ people.

“What might take years off of peoples’ lives are young people growing up in communities where they hear this [rhetoric] spouted from people of authority,” Razer said. “Those teenagers then commit suicide, that’s how years come off your life.”

Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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