Republican Party Chair resigns after homophobic Facebook comment
DELAWARE – The head of the New Castle County GOP has now resigned after he used homophobic comments online.
In the comments Chris Rowe used the f-word, saying they can’t handle reality. And his use of that word has stirred up quite the amount of backlash.
That’s the reaction from Ruth Briggs King, a republican lawmaker, after seeing that comment.
“It’s very disturbing when we read certain things that are used as we’re trying to think more positive, and be more sensitive and more inclusive,” Briggs King said.
Rowe made the homophobic comments on Facebook a few days ago and has received backlash in the days since. Rowe posted to Facebook on Wednesday saying that his comments were “locker room talk between two men” and that he did not cause injury to any individual or group. Some people commented saying that Rowe should resign, but others wrote that Rowe has a right to free speech. That right is a line that, local lawmakers say, is often blurred.
“As a state legislator, I want to be sure that I protect everyone’s first amendment rights, but with that first amendment right, that becomes subservient to anybody that comes into a leadership position,” Steve Smyk said.
Local legislators say that people in positions like Rowe’s are held to a different standard than an ordinary citizen.
“You, as the leader of that group, should take into consideration any communications that go from you in the role that you play,” Smyk said.
It’s comments and situations like this, local lawmakers say, that lead to misunderstandings about political parties.
“I think it leads to that misconception about what the republican party is and what it isn’t, and certainly there are many different people that are in the party much the same as the other party, so they can run into some of the same challenges,” Briggs King said.
Republicans we spoke with say the comments are not a reflection of their party. In fact, they say these comments go against the inclusive nature of the party.
“The Republican party in itself has been known, our reputation is to be the big tent, to come into the tent, that it’s open, it’s welcoming, that it’s not discriminatory, and that it is all inclusive,” Briggs King said.
And that, when allowed, language like this can go against the party’s work.
“We don’t want to go down this slope that is going to exclude groups from what we are trying to do as a republican party,” Smyk said.
Erik Raser-Schramm, the Chair of the Delaware Democratic party, released a statement on Thursday saying in part that Rowe has no business in party leadership.
47 ABC did reach out to Rowe for comment, but we have not heard back. He did post on his Facebook however saying he will be making a video this weekend responding to the backlash.