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Bigotry: Displays of prejudice deserve condemnation

Little by little, public officials in West Virginia seem to be getting the message that expressions of bigotry of any kind are not acceptable.

Not so long ago, strong expressions of prejudice may have been frowned upon, but they were still tolerated.

No more.

John Mandt Jr., a House of Delegates member from Cabell County, recently learned that. He resigned from the House after homophobic comments attributed to him were circulated online.

Mandt maintains he did not make the comments. “Everything electronic can be fabricated. It’s by design, my family, my business are being attacked,” he wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post. Mandt also reported he had been threatened.

That, too, is not acceptable. If Mandt is the victim of some sort of plot, let us hope the perpetrators can be unmasked. If he is lying to cover up his careless bigotry, he should be ashamed of himself.

Still, his haste in resigning from the House makes it clear he understands the gravity of the situation. So does House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, who said of the slurs attributed to Mandt, “I don’t care who said it. It’s wrong and I want everyone to know there is no place for hatred or bigotry in our state, our political discourse or the West Virginia House of Delegates.”

Hanshaw is right, and the sooner politicians at ALL levels of government in this state understand that, the better.

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