The mayor from a rural town in Alabama is refusing to step down after posting a Facebook comment about “killing’ members of the LGBTQ community.
Mayor Mark Chambers from Carbon Hill, Alabama apologized in an interview with the Daily Mountain Eagle for an anti-LGBTQ Facebook post. The now-deleted post viewed by news station WBRC read: “We live in a society where homosexuals lecture us on morals, transvestites lecture us on human biology, baby killers lecture us on human rights and socialists lecture us on economics!”
In a follow-up post, the mayor reportedly wrote: “The only way to change it would be to kill the problem out. I know it’s bad to say but without killing them out there’s no way to fix it.” Both Facebook posts were posted on May 31, according to WBRC.
Chambers initially told the news station that he did not write the comments, but after hanging up on the reporter, he called back and admitted to writing the post. He told the news station the post had been taken out of context and said that the post was supposed to be a private message between him and a friend.
He told WBRC that he “never said anything about killing out gays or anything like that.” When the posts were read back to him, he told the news station “That’s in a revolution. That’s right! If it comes to a revolution in this country both sides of these people will be killed out.”
The North Star has reached out to the mayor’s office for comment but did not hear back in time for publication. On June 4, Chambers posted an apology to Facebook and his page is now private, Alabama Public Radio reported.
“Although I believe my comment was taken out of context and was not targeting the LGBTQ community, I know that it was wrong to say anyone should be kill [sic],” the apology read, according to the radio station. “I hope very much our citizens and anyone that was hurt by this comment can accept my apology.”
The town of Carbon Hill has a population of 1,490, according to census data. The population of the small town is 83 percent white and 9.73 percent Black, the data states.
In a statement to The North Star, Executive Director of ACLU of Alabama Randall Marshall called Chambers’ Facebook posts about the LGBTQ community “particularly dangerous.”
“The mayor’s repugnant and hateful comments should be roundly condemned. Given the history of discrimination and physical attacks on members of the LGBTQ community, including the murder of Dana Martin, a Black transgender woman, earlier this year, these statements from a sitting mayor are particularly dangerous,” Marshall wrote. “Having elected officials who deny the very humanity of the LGBTQ community is unacceptable. Our elected officials represent all of us.”
Champagne Girten, a board member of Hometown Action, an advocacy organization in Alabama, told The North Star in an email that he grew up in Carbon Hill and said his friends that still live in the rural town are too afraid to speak out against the recent remarks. She noted the lack of protection for the LGBTQ community living in the state.
“This lack of protection coupled with the kinds of remarks made by Mayor Chambers creates a hostile living situation for the gay community in small towns, including queer youth, who grow up in an atmosphere of fear and intolerance,” Girten wrote.
Girten said the organization is circulating a petition demanding that Chambers step down as mayor. Council members of the town have also called on the mayor to resign, WSFA reported.
“His remarks demonstrate an inability to represent ALL of Carbon Hill, as he clearly holds his gay, lesbian, and trans constituents beneath his contempt. In fact, even in his ‘apology,’ he only apologized for humiliating the residents of Carbon Hill,” Girten wrote. “There were no words of apology toward the gay community, in or out of Carbon Hill.”
The organization is also calling on lawmakers in Carbon Hill to take necessary steps to protect the LGBTQ community living in the town, Girten told The North Star. The organization also stated community leaders “should receive cultural competency education, to help them understand what needs to be done to protect and represent their entire community.”
“Carbon Hill has a chance to turn this around and be a leader in the area, and more importantly, to demonstrate that each person in their city is valued and considered equal,” Girten wrote to The North Star. “We welcome Carbon Hill and hope they take this opportunity to move forward.”
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.