This peanut farmer wants Alabama to stand against Roy Moore’s hatred of gay people
Nathan Mathis, a peanut farmer in Wicksburg, Alabama, stole the attention away from Republican Roy Moore outside a rally in Midland City on the eve of the U.S. Senate election pitting Moore against Democrat Doug Jones. There, he begged voters to not elect a man like Moore.
But Mathis’ main argument against Moore wasn’t Moore’s history of sexual abuse allegations. Mathis was there to defend his gay daughter, Patti Sue Mathis, who committed suicide in 1995 at the age of 23, after years of enduring ridicule and bigotry. Mathis held up a photo of his daughter as he spoke.
“Judge Roy Moore called her a pervert for one reason: Because she was gay,” Mathis said. “How was my daughter a pervert just because she was gay? Does it mean she was born gay? I don’t know the answer to that. But she was gay.”
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
He begged Alabamans not to vote for Moore, saying Alabama didn’t need a man who called gay people perverts and abominations representing the state in Washington.
Asked if he blamed Moore’s years of anti-gay rhetoric for his daughter’s death, Mathis said no.
“I was anti-gay myself,” Mathis said. “I said bad things to my daughter myself which I regret. I can’t take back what happened to my daughter. But stuff like saying my daughter’s a pervert? I’m sure that bothered her.”
In 2012, Mathis wrote a letter to the editor of the Dothan Eagle. In it, he recounted an church experience after Patti’s death:
“Sometime after Patti died, I attended church and a visiting preacher was preaching. About 10 minutes into the sermon, he bashed gays the rest of the way. As soon as the invitation song was given, I went out the door with one of the worst headaches I had ever had. I was ashamed of myself for sitting there and not defending Patti. I have not been much since.”
Mathis said he didn’t know if his protest would help change the outcome of the election, but he wanted to make sure he took a stand for his daughter.
“I don’t know what I’ll accomplish,” Mathis admitted. “And if it’s all to no avail, then so be it. It won’t be the first time I’ve done something to no avail.”
Nathan Mathis is here outside the Moore event. He tells me his daughter committed suicide and says Roy Moore called her a pervert because she was gay. “My sign says it all,” he said. pic.twitter.com/5qZnM0IyNJ
— Andrew Desiderio (@desiderioDC) December 11, 2017