Father, who says he's a local peanut farmer in Wicksburg, outside Roy Moore rally talks about losing his gay daughter at age of 23 to suicide. "I was anti-gay myself. I said bad things to my daughter, which I regret." pic.twitter.com/J0oOU0EJI2— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) December 11, 2017
An Alabama peanut farmer stood with a picture of his deceased daughter outside a Roy Moore rally in Midland City ahead of Alabama Senate special election — and his powerful message has struck a nerve.
Nathan Mathis, 74, delivered a gut-wrenching message to reporters during his rebuke of Moore, condemning the GOP candidate’s history of anti-LGBT remarks.
Moore has said he believes gay people are “perverts” and “homosexual conduct should be illegal.”
At the same time, the GOP candidate has himself been accused of inappropriate conduct with teenagers, with girls as young as 14 accusing him of groping, kissing and scouting high school campuses looking for potential victims when he was in his 30s.
It was this harsh rhetoric that Mathis — a former county commissioner and state representative of Alabama — denounced while holding a cardboard that had a picture of his daughter.
“Judge Roy Moore called my daughter Patti Sue Mathis a pervert because she was gay," the sign read. “A 32-year-old Roy Moore dated teenage girls ages 14 to 17. So that makes him a pervert of the worst kind. Please don't vote for Roy Moore!”
Mathis admitted Moore did not call his daughter a pervert by name, rather he was denouncing every gay person there is — and that rang false to him.
“This is something people need to stop and think about,” Mathis said. “You’re supposed to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution said all men were created equal. But how is my daughter a pervert just because she’s gay?”
He also said he didn’t know what his protest would accomplish but he needed to speak the truth.
“I don’t know what I’ll accomplish. I really don’t. I had mixed emotions about the comments but somebody needs to speak up. If it's all to no avail, so be it, it won't be the first time I've done something to no avail,” he said. “But my sign there speaks for itself and my sign speaks the truth.”
What’s truly tragic about Mathis’ story is that he himself was anti-gay and used to shame his daughter for being a lesbian — a fact he regrets after his daughter committed suicide in 1995 at the age of 23.
“I was anti-gay myself. I said bad things to my daughter myself, which I regret. But I can't take back what happened to my daughter,” he said. “Stuff like saying my daughter is a pervert, I'm sure that bothered her.”
“We don’t need a person like that representing us in Washington,” he said of Moore. “That’s why I’m here.”
Mathis wrote a letter to his local newspaper, the Dothan Eagle, in 2012 detailing about Patti Sue’s life and tragic demise. His daughter wanted to undergo conversion therapy but was told by doctors homosexuality isn't something that can be "cured." She took her life because she was bullied.
Sometime after Patti Sue died, Mathis attended a church sermon where the preacher was condemning gays. He said he was ashamed of not defending his daughter then but implored his readers to have compassion for the LGBT community.
Alabama residents will decide between Moore and his Democratic rival Doug Jones on Dec. 12.
Banner/Thumbnail: REUTERS, Jonathan Bachman