WATCH: Tenn. Councilman Says He's Being Recalled Because He's Gay
A City Council member in Chattanooga, Tenn., is facing a recall petition, which he says is being spearheaded by out-of-towners who are upset with the fact that he's openly gay.
Chris Anderson has filed a lawsuit requesting an injunction to stop the recall effort, reports Chattanooga's WRCB TV. Anderson contends the effort to oust him from his District 7 seat is discriminatory.
"The thing is, it takes thousands of votes to win an election, but it only takes one person to file a recall," Anderson told the station. "So the existence of a recall is not indicative of somebody's job performance. It's just the opinion of at least one person. … They are recalling me because I'm openly gay."
Anderson's attorney agrees, saying that recall supporters who claim no antigay animus are just using "a pretext for the real reason."
WRCB reports that a resident named Charlie Wysong is leading the recall effort, while also noting that Wysong "helped get the city's domestic-partnership benefits ordinance on the ballot." The ballot measure would give voters the opportunity to repeal the ordinance, which the City Council passed last year and grants benefits to domestic partners, both same-sex and opposite-sex, of municipal employees.
"Let me say this," Wysong told WRCB. "If he was straight as an arrow and had treated the people of this district like he's treated them, I'd be for recalling him as well." Another resident of district 7 told WCRB that Anderson hasn't lived up to his campaign promises and is ignoring poor areas in the district.
Anderson claims those complaints of a lack of representation are coming from people who "mostly don't even live in my district."
Recall supporters must collect 1,600 signatures by April 10 to put Anderson's recall on the August ballot.
Watch WRBC's report below.