An Oklahoma House candidate is under fire for appearing to endorse the death penalty for gays and lesbians.

Scott Esk, a Tea Party candidate, made the controversial comments last year on Facebook in response to Pope Francis asking “Who am I to judge?” gay priests.

Esk argued that Leviticus 20:13 gives people the right to judge others.

“So just to be clear, you think we should execute homosexuals (presumably by stoning),” a commenter asked.

“I think we would be totally in the right to do it,” Esk responded. “That goes against some parts of Libertarianism, I realize, and I'm largely Libertarian, but ignoring as a nation things that are worthy of death is very remiss.”

Esk was asked about the comments by

“What I will tell you right now is that that was done in the Old Testament under a law that came directly from God,” Esk said. “And in that time it was totally just, it came directly from God. I have no plans to, you know, reinstate that in Oklahoma law. I do have some very huge moral misgivings about those types of sins.”

Tony Stevenson, executive director of LGBT advocacy group Equality Network, said in a statement that Esk's “rhetoric demonstrates that he is an ineffective leader and would be a bad representation of Oklahoma values at the State Capitol.”

Esk did not return numerous calls placed by Oklahoma City's NewsChannel 4. Oklahoma's Republican primary takes place June 24.