An Alabama father who said that his daughter took her life because “she didn’t want to be gay anymore” stood outside Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore’s rally in Midland City on Monday to urge people not to vote for the former judge.
Photos from the rally showed peanut farmer and Midland City native Nathan Mathis holding a photo of his daughter in a basketball uniform. Near his feet was a sign that said in bold, bright red letters, “Please don’t vote for Roy Moore.”
“Judge Roy Moore called my daughter Patti Sue Mathis a pervert because she was gay,” the sign said. “A 32 year old Roy Moore dated teenage girls ages 14 to 17. So that makes him a pervert of the worst kind.”
Nathan Mathis stands outside Moore’s rally protesting, holding a picture of his daughter, who was gay and committed suicide. “Sign says in red letters PLEASE DON’T VOTE FOR ROY MOORE” pic.twitter.com/PO0dpYwA0U— Bridget Bowman (@bridgetbhc) December 11, 2017
Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women who said they were teenagers when the former judge approached them. Among them is Leigh Corfman, who told AL.com she was 14 years old when Moore initiated sexual contact with her. She told the news site that they did not have intercourse, but that Moore touched her inappropriately.
Moore has denied the accusations.
Mathis told reporters Monday that he had mixed feelings about going to Moore’s rally.
“But somebody needs to speak up,” he said. “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.
“(Moore) didn’t call my daughter by name (but) he said all gay people are perverts, abominations. That’s not true. We don’t need a person like that representing us in Washington. That’s why I’m here.”
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
In a letter published by the Dothan Eagle in 2012, Mathis wrote that his daughter took her life on March 22, 1995, when she was 23 years old, “because she didn’t want to be gay anymore.”
“She was tired of being ridiculed and made fun of,” he wrote. “She was tired of seeing how a lot of people treat gay people.”
He said his daughter turned to him for help after she decided she no longer wanted to be gay, but he said doctors kept telling the family that she couldn’t help her sexual orientation.
“Patti had been raised by going to church at Christian Home Church of Christ, and she was there almost every time the door was open,” Mathis wrote. “Patti knew the story of Sodom, for oftentimes gay bashing was preached from the pulpit. Looking back now, I wonder how Patti must have felt, or if she even knew she was gay then. I never asked her.”
Mathis told reporters Monday that he didn’t blame Moore, who has made numerous anti-LGBT comments over the years, for his daughter’s death.
“I’m not suggesting that,” he said. “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.
“(Moore is) supposed to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution said all men are created equal. Well how is my daughter a pervert just because she was gay?”
Alabama voters go to the polls Tuesday to decide whether Moore or his rival, Democrat Doug Jones, will fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated in February by Jeff Sessions when he was sworn in as U.S. attorney general. Polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.