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Guntersville City Councilman Randy Whitaker apologizes after backlash over Facebook post

Updated: Mar. 9, 2021 at 10:53 PM CST
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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A Guntersville City Councilman is apologizing tonight for a picture posted on Facebook.

He was photographed holding a shirt that some people say is concerning.

He and his wife Selena Whitaker visited the Ark Encounter Museum in Kentucky for their 20th anniversary.

Guntersville City Councilman Randy Whitaker, his daughter, wife and designer of  the shirt.
Guntersville City Councilman Randy Whitaker, his daughter, wife and designer of the shirt.(waff)

Selena purchased a shirt for him at a barbecue restaurant located in the area of the museum and posted a photo on Facebook.

The shirt reads, “I support LGBTQ: LIBERTY, GUNS, BIBLE, TRUMP, and BBQ”

Randall Whitaker serves as the Guntersville City Councilman for District 7.

“My first response to seeing the picture of Councilman Whitaker was well, is he coming out to support LGBTQ rights because that’s all I saw at first because it said I support LGBTQ, but underneath the letters did not stand for LGBTQ,” said Guntersville resident Will Smith.

Smith said the shirt is disrespectful to members of the LGBTQ community.

He and several others also said the photo should not have been posted since Whitaker is an elected leader.

“You’re talking about peoples’ lives here, you’re talking about who they are, we’re talking about people sharing their truths, people honoring who they are instead of some bigotry,” said Smith.

The photo has since been removed from Facebook.

Whitaker posted a statement on his wife’s Facebook page, writing that he agrees that he supports Liberty, Guns, Bible , Trump and BBQ.

Whitaker’s statement said the owner of a BBQ restaurant where they ate designed the shirt.

He also apologized for offending members of the community, saying he has gay family members.

Guntersville Mayor Leigh Dollar released a statement saying that council members are encouraged to reflect city values of diversity and inclusion while posting on social media.

Editor’s Note: Originally, this story identified the shirt was purchased at a barbecue restaurant located at the Ark Encounter Museum. The story has been updated to reflect the shirt was purchased at a barbecue restaurant but said restaurant is not located at nor affiliated with the museum.

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