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OU Regent Kirk Humphreys says he has no plans to resign, despite outcry over gay comments

Kirk Humphreys during his appearance on "Flash Point."
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OKLAHOMA CITY- Despite public outcry and rallies demanding his resignation, former Oklahoma City Mayor and University of Oklahoma Regent Kirk Humphreys said Tuesday he did not plan to resign.

Humphreys did not attend the OU Board of Regents meeting Tuesday, and no discussion was held about the comments or calls for resignation.

Humphreys came under fire after making comments on a local news program Sunday comparing gays to pedophiles, but since released a statement saying his intention was not to equate homosexuality with pedophilia.

However, the comments resulted in numerous rallies and demands for his resignation, including a rally Tuesday at the Board of Regents meeting.

On Dec. 11, the OU Faculty Senate met and approved a statement condemning Humphrey’s comments and calling for Humphrey’s resignation. Oklahoma City Public School Board Chair Paula Lewis also called for the resignation of Humphreys from the John Rex Charter Elementary Board Tuesday, saying his comments were not in line with the school’s resolution to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students and staff.

“The comments from Kirk Humphreys go against our school district’s values of inclusivity and equality. We believe there is strength in our diversity,” Lewis said.

 “We believe that each child in our school district is special, no matter their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. To insinuate that anyone in the LGBTQ community is the same as a pedophile or sexual predator just because of their orientation or identity is unacceptable. I ask that Mr. Humphreys resign from the John Rex Charter Elementary Board. This type of rhetoric has no place in our school district and we need to hold our leaders in this community to a higher standard.”

The Board of Regents issued a statement denouncing Humphreys’ comments as well. An OU alumni group and OU's Queer Student Association called for Humphreys' immediate resignation from the Board of Regents.

Humphrey’s son Blair Humphreys, developer of the Wheeler District in Oklahoma City, issued a statement to The Oklahoman that said his father’s comments did not represent the values of the budding district.

"We sincerely apologize for the hurtful and unfair comments that have been associated with our work at the Wheeler District,” he wrote. "I and the Wheeler District team believe firmly in creating a diverse and inclusive community. We have welcomed all voices in planning an urban neighborhood where everyone feels safe and appreciated. As such, we have reached out to members of the LGBTQ community to see how we can continue to make Wheeler an even more welcoming place for people of all backgrounds."

OU President David Boren also spoke out against Humphreys in a statement.

"I do not share his views on this matter," he said. "The university strongly reaffirms and takes great pride in its commitment to a welcoming, diverse and inclusive community which respects people of all backgrounds. We value and respect all members of our university family."

Boren’s comments were echoed by the OU Board of Regents Chairman OU Board Clay Bennett.

"The Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma is charged with the honorable duty of care and loyalty to our beloved institution,” he said in a statement. “We take great pride in the value of the many diverse perspectives, backgrounds and experiences of our students, faculty and professional staff.”

Governor Mary Fallin, however, called Humphreys’ statement regrettable and unfortunate, but said he should stay as a regent, a position she appointed him to in 2012.

Following the outcry, Humphreys released a statement addressing the controversy.

“I regret that my comments on Flash Point regarding homosexuality were not clear and led some people to believe that I was equating homosexuality with pedophilia. That was not my intention or desire. I apologize for my lack of clarity and realize this has resulted in a strong reaction by some and has hurt people’s feelings.

For clarification, my moral stance about homosexuality is that it is against the teachings of scripture. Although I know this upsets some people, it is my belief. In America we have the right to believe as we choose and to freely express that belief.

For those that I have hurt, I’m sorry. For those who do not share my beliefs, I will defend your right to have a deeply held belief even if yours is different than mine.”

The statement has been hailed by many as a “non-apology.”

Troy Stephenson of Freedom Oklahoma said in a social media post that he was told by the Board of Regents to have patience, but that patience was unacceptable.

“’Be patient.’ ~ The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents in reference to Regent Humphreys’ bigoted comments. We are not a patient people. We will not only keep up the pressure, we will triple it! WE ARE PREPARED TO CALL FOR A DONOR BOYCOTT OF THE UNIVERSITY IF REGENT HUMPHREYS IS NOT REMOVED BY CoB (close of business) FRIDAY!” he wrote.

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Heide Brandes

Heide Brandes is an award-winning journalist and editor with more than 18 years of experience....

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