Metro Weekly

Republican Says Islamic Militants “Hate Homosexuals More Than We Do”

A Florida Republican has been accused of admitting that the GOP hates LGBTQ people due to a speech supporting an anti-LGBTQ bill.

Florida Republican State Rep. Jeff Holcomb – Photo: Facebook

A Florida Republican appeared to embrace the idea that his political party hates LGBTQ people during a debate on a right-wing “virtue-signaling” resolution that targets LGBTQ military members.

State Rep. Jeff Holcomb (R-Spring Hill) spoke on the House floor on Monday, May 1, in support of a resolution urging Congress to end so-called “woke” practices in the U.S. military, including efforts to recruit a more diverse fighting force, provide unconscious bias training, and allowing the use of gender-neutral language.

The bill is one of several “messaging” measures pushed by Florida Republicans in recent years to troll left-leaning colleagues and pander to the conservative Republican base by appealing to culture-war issues.

The resolution calls on federal lawmakers to “restore the Department of Defense’s superior warfighting principles of recruiting, assigning, training, promoting, and retaining personnel solely based on merit and ensuring such personnel maintain and display a warrior ethos.”

It also accuses the military of “overemphasizing and relying on diversity and inclusion in all its forms, including gender, gender identity, race, and sexual preference, as a primary determinant in how military forces should be comprised without providing credible and verifiable evidence that such a prescribed composition results in higher job performance, unit effectiveness, and mission accomplishment.”

In his floor speech defending the bill — which has since passed both legislative chambers and is all but certain to be signed into law by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis — Holcomb put forth a “strawman” argument alleging that proponents of diversity and nondiscrimination are insulting the U.S. military by insisting that such measures are needed.

“I just can’t let our military be labeled as racist and discrimination (sic) without a response,” he said, according to The New Republic.

“ISIS, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda — those are the folks who discriminate. We bombed a building in 2017 like we never usually do. We bombed it because they threw homosexuals off that building.

“Our terrorist enemies hate homosexuals more than we do,” he concluded, as some of his fellow lawmakers audibly gasped. “They’re the ones who discriminate.”

Holcomb’s remarks immediately drew attention, with many pro-LGBTQ advocates claiming he had indirectly admitted to holding animus toward the LGBTQ community.

Video of the speech was posted to Twitter by former State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando), an openly gay man now running for state senate.

In the video, State Rep. Kelly Skidmore (D-Boca Raton), who is seated behind Holcomb, is so shocked by his comments that it registers on her face, with her jaw literally dropping.

“Florida GOP Representative Jeff Holcomb says the quiet part out loud on the House floor…” tweeted Smith.

The video of Holcomb gained more than 1.9 million views, with many Twitter users slamming his remarks.

Other users classified his comments as unsurprising and appeared resigned to the idea that any Florida politician would express similar animus towards the LGBTQ community, pointing to a host of anti-LGBTQ laws approved by the Republican-controlled legislature this session. 

“So he says ‘we hate gays, but not as much as the Taliban does!’… and thinks that’s a selling point,” tweeted one Twitter user.

“I find this 0% surprising, sadly,” tweeted another.

Alejandra Caraballo, a transgender activist, attorney, and clinical instructor at the Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic, tweeted that Holcomb all but admitted that “Republicans hate LGBTQ people.”

Another Twitter user mocked Holcomb’s comments denouncing Islamic militant groups for “discrimination, writing: “That’s rich from a party that wants to enact the same policies that the Taliban has foisted on middle Eastern countries.”


Still another user expressed skepticism that anything would change if people are either unaware of it, or if they keep electing anti-LGBTQ lawmakers cycle after cycle.

“Has there been any response in Florida to what Holcomb said or are the people of Florida entirely content to have a bigot making laws in their state? So what people gasped. What are they going to do about this?” they tweeted.

Republican-led states around the country have pushed several bills targeting the LGBTQ community, often arguing that mere visibility is problematic, or asserting that LGBTQ people are attempting to “indoctrinate” Americans, particularly impressionable youth, into accepting homosexuality as socially acceptable.

In Florida, specifically, lawmakers passed an anti-drag bill last month that is so broad it could lead to the cancellation of Pride events where drag queens are visible. Its sponsor said he would be fine with “erasing” the LGBTQ community by classifying such shows as “adult live performances” to protect children from shows glamorizing gender nonconformity and touching on sexually-tinged topics.

Another bill would allow the state to remove transgender-identifying children from their parents’ custody if they are believed to be receiving gender-affirming health treatments. One lawmaker even compared members of the transgender community to “mutants” and “demons” when debating a ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth.

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