At a Roy Moore campaign event in Midland City, Alabama, on Monday, a father made a heartfelt plea on behalf of his deceased gay daughter: Don’t vote for Moore.
Nathan Mathis, a peanut farmer from Wicksburg, Alabama, held up a photo of his daughter, Patti, who he said had died by suicide when she was 23. As Moore supporters passed him by, Mathis shared his daughter’s story and urged them to change their minds about the U.S. Senate candidate.
“Judge Roy Moore called her a pervert for one reason, because she was gay,” he said in an interview caught on video by NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard. “The constitution said all men are created equal. How is my daughter a pervert just because she was gay?”
“He didn’t call my daughter by name, but he said all gay people are perverts, abominations,” Mathis continued. “That’s not true. We don’t need a person like that representing us in Washington. That’s why I’m here.”
An embattled Moore made an appearance at the Midland City event, breaking a stint of silence following allegations of sexual misconduct by several women, including one who said Moore had molested her decades ago when she was 14.
Alabamans will be heading to the polls Tuesday to choose between Moore, a Republican, and Democrat Doug Jones.
Moore has a long, documented history of making vehemently anti-LGBTQ statements, including calls to make homosexuality an illegal and punishable offense.
“I was anti-gay myself,” Mathis said. “I said bad things to my daughter, which I regret.” While he acknowledged he “can’t take back what happened to my daughter” and may not be able to change anyone’s mind about Moore, he said he felt compelled to attend nonetheless.
“I had mixed emotions about coming,” he said. “But somebody needs to speak up.”