In a soul-baring, viral interview with NBC News, Nathan Mathis explained he lost his daughter Patti Sue to suicide in 1995 when she was only 23-years-old. She was a lesbian and struggled with discrimination and hate in their town. Mathis said he was protesting Republican candidate Roy Moore because he took issue with his anti-LGBTQ+ comments throughout the years.
For Mathis, a former county commissioner and state representative in Alabama who now works as a peanut farmer, that stance is incompatible with someone who is supposed to serve all Americans.
"This is something people need to stop and think about," he said. "You’re supposed to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution said all men were created equal. But how is my daughter a pervert just because she’s gay?"
During the interview, Mathis said he used to have some anti-LGBTQ+ views himself, which led to him saying things to his daughter that probably hurt her.
"I said bad things to my daughter myself, which I regret," he said. "But I can’t take back what happened to my daughter. Stuff like saying my daughter was a pervert, I’m sure that bothered her."
Mathis said that Moore's past comments rang false in light of the allegations that the former judge molested a 14-year-old, sexually assaulted a 16-year-old, and pursued relationships with several teenage girls when he was an assistant district attorney in his 30s. The candidate denies the allegations.
The sign he had outside of a Moore campaign event 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 age 14 to 17. So that makes him a pervert of the worst kind. PLEASE DON'T VOTE FOR ROY MOORE!"
In the interview with NBC, Mathis added that Moore was not worthy of representing the people of Alabama in the Senate because of his anti-LBGTQ+ track record and the accusations that stand against him. Alabamians are going to the polls today to decide whether Moore or Democrat Doug Jones should fill the Senate seat left vacant by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
"We don’t need a person like that representing us in Washington," he said. "That’s why I’m here."
If you are an LGBTQ+ person thinking about suicide, please call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386.