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FORT WAYNE, Ind. — A member of the school board for Northwest Allen County Schools is facing calls to resign after comments he made comparing the choice of wearing a mask to sexual orientation.

The discussion has been over allowing parents to choose if their child has to wear a mask in school or not, rather than the school mandating it.

School board member Steve Bartkus said at last week’s meeting:

“People have a choice to be gay or straight, right? Some of the craziest things against God’s rules on this earth, we have a choice now. When do the parents get a choice here, and the children get a choice whether this is good for their family or their personal well-being because there’s a lot of families that are psychologically affected with this, physically affected with this.  I’m not saying masks don’t work, they do for some cases.”

Many LGBTQ advocates, who believe sexual orientation is not a choice, were outraged saying the comments are inappropriate. Several students and parents showed up at Monday night’s school board meeting wearing rainbow masks.

Bartkus has apologized saying he was only trying to emphasize a person’s right to choose when it comes to students wearing a mask. He said his comments “came out of ignorance” and apologized if they offended anyone.