Florida Republican state Rep. Mike Hill has been under growing pressure to apologize or resign after leaked audio revealed he had laughed when a constituent asked him if he could pass a Bible-based law to execute gay people.
Voters, his constituents, LGBT activists, his fellow lawmakers – even his fellow Republicans, including the Republican governor of Florida, his cabinet, and the Republican Speaker of the Florida House – have all condemned his behavior. There are calls for the Florida House to censure him.
Hill is not backing down.
Absent from much of the reporting is not only did Hill laugh when asked about a "kill the gays" law, he did not correct the man who suggested it. Not only did he not correct him, but Hill also said he believes being gay is a choice.
“It’s a behavior, and it’s a choice,” Hill told attendees at a meeting of Women for Responsible Legislation, rejecting the idea that LGBT people should be a protected class. “You can say, ‘But I was born that way.’ OK, well, fine, but nobody’s forcing you to engage in that relationship, even if you were born that way.”
Also absent from many reports is that Hill did not only laugh, he engaged in the anti-LGBT rhetoric, noting that killing gay people is called for "in the Old Testament."
Hill has pushed back, calling criticism of his behavior a "social media lynching."
Now, through a right wing talk radio host, Hill has issued a statement, as the Tampa Bay Times reports. That statement was not posted to his social media accounts or to his website.
The statement is not an apology.
It begins with him calling himself a "Bible believing Christian."
He goes on to explain that "one man I had never met said the Bible in 1 Corinthians calls for a man having an affair with another man to be put to death."
Hill then corrects the constituent's misreading of the Bible verse.
"If the man was referring to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, that text says nothing about anyone being put to death. It simply states people who practice various sins will not inherit the kingdom of God."
And then he apologizes – for not pointing out the man's inaccurate quote.
"I apologize for not directly responding to the fact that the premise for this question was inaccurate," Hill writes. "I deeply regret how the tone of my response to a constituent was received at this event. I believe that no matter one’s race, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, economic status or otherwise, that all lives are created equal in the image of God."
Here's the statement:
FL State Rep. @MikeHillFL just released this statement/apology about the accusations that he entertained an outrage… https://t.co/f5SMu06Pcx— Burnie Thompson Show®️ (@Burnie Thompson Show®️)1559690910.0
Wednesday morning Hill did post to his Twitter account an opinion piece published in a far right wing website. It's titled, "Florida Rep. Mike Hill vs. the gay establishment," which is astonishingly misleading, given all who have denounced his behavior.