The day before a special Senate election in Alabama, a grieving father made a heartbreaking statement about the daughter he lost to suicide — and what he has to say about a candidate who has made anti-gay statements in the past.
Nathan Mathis, a 74-year-old peanut farmer who once was a county commissioner and state representative, attended a rally with a sign featuring his daughter, who he said committed suicide when she was 23, according to . He called out Judge Roy Moore, the Republican candidate who has been accused of inappropriate relationships with teenagers when he was in his 30s, and that is "against the laws of nature" and should be illegal.
Mathis held a sign that read: "Judge Roy Moore called my daughter Patti Sue Mathis a pervert because she was gay. 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 got the attention of reporters who were covering the rally, and explained why he traveled to the rally to speak his mind. "The Constitution says all men are created equal," he said. "But how is my daughter a pervert just because she was gay?"
He said that he once held anti-gay views that he now regrets, but felt that he needed to show up to tell people to think over Moore's anti-gay statements. "I had mixed emotions about coming, but somebody needs to speak up, and if it's all to no avail, so be it," he said. "It won't be the first time I've done something to no avail."
In 2012, about the death of his daughter. "When Patti was a senior at Wicksburg High, I found out she was gay from a young friend she had told. I confronted Patti and I said some things to her that still eat on me to this day. I told her I was sorry that I said those mean things to her," he wrote, adding that she even visited psychiatrists and doctors in an attempt to "cure" her homosexuality. "On March 22, 1995, Patti took her own life because she didn't want to be gay anymore," he wrote. "She was tired of being ridiculed and made fun of. She was tired of seeing how a lot of people treat gay people."
Read his comments at the rally in full below:
"My name is Nathan Mathis. My daughter was Patti Sue Mathis. That's her right there. Judge Roy Moore called her a pervert, for one reason, because she was gay. If he called her a pervert, he called your child a pervert if she was gay, or if your son was gay. This is something people need to stop and think about. You're supposed to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution says all men are created equal. But how is 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. There she is. I don't know what I'll accomplish, I really don't. I had mixed emotions about coming, but somebody needs to speak up, and if it's all to no avail, so be it. It won't be the first time I've done something to no avail. But my sign there speaks for myself and my sign is true. I'm not suggesting that [my daughter's suicide was because of Moore]. 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. Stuff like saying my daughter's a pervert, I'm sure that bothered her. You know, Judge Moore didn't call my daughter by name, he said all gay people are perverts, abomination. That's not true. We don't need a person like that representing us in Washington. That's why I'm here."