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Oklahoma regents vice chair to resign after anti-gay comment

December 21, 2017
Kirk Humphreys shares a smile and a hug with Chris Purcell after the embattled regent Humphreys announced he is resigning from the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents effective with the beginning of the spring semester. Purcell serves as secretary to the board of regents. The embrace came at the end of the regents' meeting in Oklahoma City on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, when Humphreys announced to fellow regents he would resign. As vice chairman, Humphreys was to be next in line for the chairman position. Humphreys also is a former mayor of Oklahoma City. (Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman via AP)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The vice chair of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents announced Thursday he would resign after an uproar over a comment on public affairs television that appeared to liken gay people to pedophiles.

Following a two-hour closed-door meeting of the board, Vice Chair Kirk Humphreys said he does not want to be a distraction and announced plans to step down before the start of the spring semester in 2018. Humphries said the board asked him to step down during the private meeting.

“I told (board Chairman) Clay Bennett on Saturday that if this was the will of the regents, I was happy to do that,” Humphreys said. The board’s meeting was called to discuss “any board member(s) as it may pertain to board leadership positions.”

Humphreys publicly apologized for his comments on Tuesday. He said comments he made on the show that aired Dec. 10 went “off the rails” and that he regrets hurting people.

The LGBTQ advocacy group Freedom Oklahoma had called for Humphreys to resign. Director Troy Stevenson, who had joined Humphreys on Tuesday and didn’t renew his call for a resignation then, said Humphreys resignation “was the most appropriate response.”

“It was the outcome we were hopeful for,” said Stevenson, who had said he opposed Humphreys becoming chairman of the board of regents. Stevenson said he respects Humphreys and believes his previous apology was genuine.

The president of the OU Student Government Association, J.D. Baker, said resigning was the right thing for Humphreys to do.

“I didn’t expect it but I think it’s a positive decision in the right direction I think it helps us realize the gravity of his words and that they have impact,” Baker said.

Humphries and others were discussing allegations against Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, who has announced he’ll resign from the Senate over accusations of sexual misconduct, and allegations of improper behavior by President Donald Trump when Humphreys began to ramble about other subjects. He said he was “going to make a lot of people mad today.”

“Is homosexuality right or wrong? It’s not relative; there’s a right and wrong,” said Humphreys, a real estate developer and former Oklahoma City mayor. “If it’s OK, then it’s OK for everybody and, quite frankly, it’s OK for men to sleep with little boys.”

Humphreys said the day after the program aired that his moral position on homosexuality is that it is “against the teachings of Scripture.”

In a Dec. 11 statement, University of Oklahoma President David Boren said Humphreys was not speaking on behalf of the university. Boren said the school was committed to diversity and inclusiveness, adding: “I do not share his views on this matter.”

In a statement Thursday, Boren said the resignation is appropriate.

“I thank Regent Humphreys for his years of service on the Board. I believe he has made the right decision for himself and for the University of Oklahoma.

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This version of the story corrects the spelling of the last name of Kirk Humphreys.

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