House Speaker José Oliva and his successor, Rep. Chris Sprowls, joined in the rapidly growing bipartisan chorus denouncing state Rep. Mike Hill for laughing at a suggestion that homosexuals should be executed.
Hill created a firestorm after being caught up tape in an exchange posted online by his hometown paper, the Pensacola News Journal, above an editorial by the paper’s prize-winning cartoonist, Andy Marlette.
A citizen comments: “In 1 Corinthians, it says that a man who has an affair with another man will be put to death.”
“It says that in the Old Testament, too.”
Another attendee asks, “Can you introduce legislation?”
Chuckles are audible. The state representative joins the laughter. “I wonder how that would go over?” Hill says.
Hill’s comments, and laughter, drew bipartisan condemnation and calls for the founder of the local Tea Party to apologize, resign or both.
State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who is openly gay, said he was “shocked & disgusted to discover a colleague who I’ve worked with closely would joke about punishing me by death for being gay.”
An hour after the Republican House leaders censured Hill on Twitter, Hill posted a reply to Smith’s outrage.