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Tim Ravndal, the Montana Tea Party leader booted from his position over an antigay conversation on Facebook, said that he wants his job back and denied that his online exchange advocated the murder of gay people.
On Sunday, the Big Sky Tea Party Association fired Ravndal over a Facebook discussion from July 23 that appeared to reference the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming.
In a post that Ravndal opened with his opposition to marriage equality, another Facebook user wrote, "I think fruits are decorative. Hang up where they can be seen and appreciated. Call Wyoming for display instructions."
Ravndal replied, "Where can I get that Wyoming printed instruction manual?"
According to the Associated Press, "Ravndal denied Thursday he was understood a connection being made to Matthew Shepard's killing, and told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that he wants his leadership post because he believes the group is headed in the right direction."
Ravndal claims that he believed the other Facebook user was referring to the fight against gay marriage, where he understood a "display" to involve communications strategy, according to the AP.
"I thought he was using his derogatory adjectives of the gay and lesbian community. A display could mean many things. Are we talking about poster signs, are we talking about a book?" he told the AP. "I thought there was an actual printed manual about displaying the facts in this issue."
The board will likely vote next week on reinstating Ravndal as a member.