In an email to fellow Mecklenburg County Commissioners, Commissioner Bill James accused gay troops of “preying” on straight soldiers, North Carolina-based gay weekly Qnotes reported.

James was responding to County Commission Chair Jennifer Roberts' request to send a letter thanking members of North Carolina's Congressional delegation for supporting repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that bans gay and bisexual troops from serving openly.

“Homosexuals are sexual predators,” James, a Republican, wrote. “Allowing homosexuals to serve in the US military with the endorsement of the Mecklenburg County Commission ignores a host of serious problems related to maintaining U.S. military readiness and effectiveness not the least of which is the current Democrat plan to allow homosexuals (male and female) to share showers with those they are attracted to.”

“I think there are a lot of things that people of all political stripes tolerate from their politicians. But endorsing immorality and allowing military recruits to be preyed on by homosexuals is not one that I will tolerate,” he added.

North Carolina Senator Richard Burr was among the eight Republicans whose votes helped end the ban. Senator Kay Hagan, a Democrat, also voted for repeal.

“I suspect Richard Burr will pay a high electoral price for his actions but whether it boots him from office next time is unknown,” James wrote. “I know I won't be supporting him even if he does have an R after his name.”

Richard Thomas, chair of the Mecklenburg Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender Political Action Committee, called James' rhetoric “unacceptable.”

“These personal attacks against fellow American citizens are unacceptable, and Commissioner James should be held accountable for his remarks as a leader,” Thomas said in a statement.

A petition which calls on the board to censure James for his anti-gay remarks has attracted more than 350 signatures since Tuesday.