NASHVILLE, Tenn. — An anti-gay Tennessee state lawmaker who has spent much of his legislative career sponsoring anti-LGBT bills, has likened the insurance requirement under President Barack Obama’s health care law to the forced deportation of Jews during the Holocaust.
State Sen. Stacey Campfield of Knoxville wrote the comment in a post titled “Thought of the Day,” drawing swift condemnation Monday from leaders of both parties in Tennessee.
“Democrats bragging about the number of mandatory sign ups for Obamacare is like Germans bragging about the number of manditory sign ups for ‘train rides’ for Jews in the 40s,” he wrote.
State Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney called the comment “ignorant and repugnant,” and called for an immediate apology to the Jewish community. Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron called the statement “outrageous, pathetic, and hateful.”
Campfield in a phone interview shrugged off the criticism, and said he stands by his comments.
“I think Jewish people should be the first to st and up against Obamacare,” he said. “When you have government deciding who gets health insurance and who doesn’t, what services they get and what services they have to provide, they’re really deciding who lives and who dies.”
“It’s a slippery slope,” he said.
Article continues belowCampfield, who is running for re-election this year, has a long history of controversial statements and anti-gay legislative initiatives.
He has repeatedly sought to ban teaching about gay issues in public schools through his failed “Don’t Say Gay” legislation. In 2012 he drew fire after telling a satellite radio host that HIV and AIDS originated from a man having sex with a monkey and that it was nearly “impossible” for AIDS to be contracted through heterosexual sex. He has also said homosexuality is a “learned behavior.”
Campfield said Monday he was unmoved by the criticism from the chairman of his own party.