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Florida Pol Cuts Off Man Who Associates LGBTQ People With Pedophiles

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A Florida man known for spouting conspiracy theories and racist rhetoric lumped pedophiles in with LGBTQ people in testimony before a state House committee Tuesday and was promptly shut down by the committee chair.

Greg Pound was testifying before the Florida House Appropriations Committee, which was debating over a state voucher program that provides scholarships for students to attend private schools. The program has come under scrutiny lately because of an Orlando Sentinel investigation that found scholarship money going to schools with anti-LGBTQ policies.

“Just a real quick question on the alphabet there,” Pound said, as documented in a video from the news service Storyful. “The L is for lesbians, the G is for gay, B is for bisexual, T is for transgender, Q is queer, and then P would be pedophile. Now, let me ask you this … where do these people get their children?”

The committee chair, Republican Rep. Travis Cummings, quickly responded, “Your testimony is ended.” When Pound asked on what grounds Cummings was basing that decision, Cummings replied, “On what grounds? What’s come right out of your mouth. It’s offensive.” He then had the sergeant at arms remove Pound.

Pound, a frequent commenter at state legislative proceedings, “has something unhinged to say on virtually every bill,” Florida Politics reports. He often denigrates LGBTQ people and Muslims, and he embraces various conspiracy theories.

At a December subcommittee hearing on funding for pre-kindergarten education, Pound “claimed boys are molested more often than girls” and went off on a tangent about the importance of abstaining from sex outside marriage, according to an earlier Florida Politics story. The subcommittee’s chair shut him down then. And testifying in favor of an anti-abortion bill in 2016, “Pound seemed to be saying in his public comments that abortion was endangering white culture,” the site notes.

The House Appropriations Committee did vote Tuesday to advance legislation expanding the voucher program, as did a Senate committee, the News Service of Florida reports. The full House and Senate will now consider the bills.

Cummings, however, won bipartisan praise for cutting off Pound, including from Democratic Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who is gay, and Anna Eskamani, an ally.  

advocate.com

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