Florida State Rep. Dennis Baxley is being asked to apologize after he compared gay parents to drug abusers and abusive parents.

The 61-year-old Baxley, a Republican and a Southern Baptist, chairs the House Judiciary Committee and is a member of the Education Committee's K-12 subcommittee. Baxley made his remarks during a subcommittee meeting on reforming middle grades.

“It's easy to say parents need to get involved, but half these kids are raising themselves; they don't have any parents that are functional. How can we address that? I know its scope and I know it's hard, but you're probably their only hope,” Baxley said.

“I mean I sat an hour and a half with a teacher telling me, well this child has got serial men coming through the house, this one has two mommy's, this one has abusive father who's home, this has alcoholism, this one has drug abuse. It was a casualty warfare event to hear – just her classroom – how many dysfunctional, atypical, to me, structures are in the way of a kid having a chance to learn.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida, the state's largest LGBT rights advocate, called on Baxley to apologize.

“We hope Representative Baxley has the decency to apologize for his comments disparaging gay parents and our children,” said Smith in an emailed statement. “More than that, we invite Representative Baxley to educate himself, talk with us and actually meet our families. We are a diverse state, and no elected official can fulfill their oath of office if they only respect and care about the people and families that look just like their own.

“The entire child welfare community, every credible agency and all research, are unanimous in recognizing that gay parents are equally capable of raising children and that our kids do just as well as their classmates.”

Baxley is among the authors of Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law.