Ark. School Board Member to Resign for Anti-Gay Post

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A school board member who posted on Facebook that he thinks gay youths should kill themselves announced Thursday night that he would quit, hours after protesters rallied outside of a high school to call for his resignation.

In an appearance on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," Clint McCance he would resign from his school board seat "to help my school, my community," though he said he might run again for the board in the future.

McCance said he had been made aware that the way he expressed his beliefs about homosexuals was hurtful. He said the language he had used in his Facebook posts was "too harsh ... too emotional" and apologized if his remarks approving gays committing suicide had hurt anybody.

"The only thing I can do is extend my apologies for my poor speech," he said. "I don't wish death on anyone."

McCance did not respond to a phone message left earlier by The Associated Press at his carpet cleaning business, and there was no answer at a number listed for his home.

Among more than 30 gay rights supporters who gathered outside of Midland High School in Pleasant Plains on Thursday were Midland alumni, members of a University of Central Arkansas gay and lesbian group, and others who had driven in from Little Rock and Fayetteville in the state's northwest corner, according to Little Rock television station KTHV.

Counter-demonstrators also showed up outside the school and waived Bibles and flags in support of McCance.

In a Facebook posting, McCance scoffed at a campaign asking supporters to wear purple Oct. 20 to show solidarity after several gay and lesbian youths killed themselves, reportedly because of bullying.

"Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers killed themselves," McCance wrote. "The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed thereselves because of their sin."

In a follow-up response to Facebook users who criticized his comments, McCance wrote that he liked that gay people "can't procreate (and) I also enjoy the fact that they often give each other AIDS and die."

McCance told CNN he and his family had received "thousands of phone calls and hate mail" and that he had sent his family out of the state to protect them.

Jowharah Sanders, founder and executive director of the anti-bullying group National Voices for Equality, Education, and Enlightenment, said she was glad McCance was resigning because that means his sentiments will no longer represent authority in his community. She noted the irony of McCance's statement that he had sent his family out of state to protect them.

"His cyber-bullying has affected his family," Sanders said.

The Midland district disavowed McCance's sentiments in a statement Wednesday, and Superintendent Dean Stanley echoed that in a letter Thursday to 1998 Midland graduate R. Anthony Turner, who wrote the school board a letter calling attention to McCance's Facebook posting.

Stanley's letter to Turner said McCance "does not represent the board or speak for the board when he posts on his Facebook page."

"Every student life is equally valuable without regard to race, sex, or sexual orientation, religious belief or affiliation," Stanley wrote. "Everyone really is someone special and deserves to be treated with care and respect."