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Pro-Gay Measure Leads to Heated Exchange

Pro-Gay Measure Leads to Heated Exchange

A member of the Metro Nashville Council went on a profanity-laced rant Tuesday night against other councilmen after his proposal to praise students who protested Tennessee’s “don’t say gay” bill was killed, the Nashville Tennessean reports.

Councilman Jamie Hollin had authored a resolution to honor the high schoolers who spoke out against the bill, which would prohibit discussion of homosexuality in public schools below the high school level. It passed in the state Senate last spring but did not come to a vote in the House, which may take it up next year.

Council rules dictated that because Hollin had not submitted his measure to a committee, he could not bring it to the full council at Tuesday’s meeting, so he moved to suspend the rules so he could do so. Council members Jim Gotto and Phil Claiborne objected, the motion failed, and Hollin yelled at his colleagues before storming out of the council chamber.

When the meeting adjourned shortly thereafter, Hollin confronted and cursed at Claiborne just outside the chamber, then left the building. He waited for the other council members in a nearby parking garage, however, and the argument resumed there and was caught on video (see below) by a Tennessean reporter. Hollin shouted at Gotto, “That’s it. There is no next meeting. That is it,” regarding the future of his resolution. “Does that make you feel good?”

Hollin later told the Tennessean that Claiborne and Gotto were examples of antigay bias. “They collectively represent the worst in us,” he said. He also said he was particularly upset because he had assisted Gotto, who is also a state representative, with some legislation.

The councilman, who will not face punishment for his rant, said that while he regretted his use of profanity, he made no apologies for his passionate beliefs. “That’s what it takes to get things done,” he said. He also said he had received largely positive feedback.

Chris Sanders, chairman of the Tennessee Equality Project’s Nashville committee, praised Hollin’s support for the students. “What [Hollin] was doing was coming to the defense of those students,” Sanders said. “In essence what he was doing was saying, ‘These students need to be honored.’”

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