Tennessee Hub

Marriage Equality Ad Featuring Gay Republican Soldier Rejected by Tennessee Station: WATCH


Chatanooga-based WRCB is refusing to an air a 30-second ad produced by Freedom to Marry and featuring a gay Republican soldier, which makes the case for marriage equality in Tennessee, Buzzfeed News reports.

“It’s just a very controversial and personal issue, and we just choose to not air a commercial on either side of that debate,” Tom Tolar, the president and general manager of Chatanooga-based WRCB, told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview.

The ad crossed the station’s lines, he explained, because “people probably have really strong opinions on one side or other of the debate. It’s just an emotional debate for many people.”

2_ehrenfeldThe ad features Jesse Ehrenfeld, a Nashville resident and Commander in the Navy, who just returned from a nine month deployment to Afghanistan, and his partner Judd Taback.

Says Ehrenfeld in the ad, which is airing in Memphis and Nashville:

I’m a Republican, I’m a doctor, and I’m a soldier. As a military physician, I take care of other people’s loved ones who are wounded in combat. But here at home, I’m fighting a different fight. Because I’m gay, I’m not allowed to marry my partner here in Tennessee where we live. I was able to stand up and put my life on the line for the freedoms that we all enjoy, and yet I don’t have the freedom to marry my partner Judd. Support the freedom to marry, because freedom means freedom for everyone.

Ehrenfeld told Buzzfeed:

“Perhaps they are afraid of running afoul of their audience, but for us, that’s why it’s important to share this ad with as many people as possible — so they can understand the impact of the marriage debate on people like Judd and myself, that we cannot share in all the rights marriage offers and are made to feel like we are second-class citizens. And that is not right in any shape or form.”

Watch the ad, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Married Tennessee Pastor Embezzled Thousands from Church, Spent it on Manhunt Membership

HolderRev. Boyd Watson Holder Jr, a Kingsport, Tennessee pastor, embezzled more than $60,000 from his church's coffers and put it to his own uses, said a Sullivan County grand jury last Wednesday after members of the pastor's congregation brought their concerns to police, the TimesNews reports.

They alleged that between $70,000 and $100,000 had been discovered missing from the church's bank account, believing that the discrepancies coincided with Holder's tenure.

Holder was reportedly the only person who could access the funds, according to a KPD incident report — and when questioned about the money by church members, responded, "It is none of your business."

Court documents show that Holder used some of the money on gay dating websites, one of which was Farmers Only, and the other Online Buddies (aka Manhunt).

The investigation has also exposed two additional police reports on Holder, one in which he was written up for being caught in a sex act with another man in a rear lot of a vacant building. The other details an assault on a man in Holder's church, in which Holder forcibly removed a man from a pew by the belt. No charges were filed.

Holder's Twitter profile says: "Father of two beautiful children and a wonderful wife, Sharon. We have the best Church Family!"

He was arrested last Thursday night at Victory Apostolic Church.

Tennessee House Votes to Make Bible the Official Book of the State

The Tennessee House of Representatives voted this week to make the Bible the official book of the state, The Tennessean reports:

SextonDespite questions of constitutionality, lawmakers beat back an attempt to make Andrew Jackson's Bible the official book and voted 55-38 in favor of Rep. Jerry Sexton's original bill.

History's going to tell us where we stand on this. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to have the side that I'm on," said Sexton, R-Bean Station, after the vote.

"It may be kind to me in the future and it may not be kind, and that's OK. I made a decision for today and I feel good about it."

Although a GOP-led effort, House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, was one of 20 Republicans to vote against the measure. House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, and four Republicans abstained. Only six Democrats voted in favor of the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris has expressed his opposition to the bill. Gov. Bill Haslam has declined to say whether he'll sign the bill should it reach his desk.  

Gay Marriage News Watch: MI, KY, OH, TN - VIDEO


Matt Baume with American Foundation for Equal Rights reports on the four briefs filed with the Supreme Court by the four states who will be defending state bans on same-sex marriage - Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. 

The briefs, as Baume explains, are filled with "weird claims and arguments that just don't make sense."

Dive in, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Horrible Tennessee Mother Punches Son in the Face for Acting 'Too Gay' - VIDEO

Jacqueline Alexander

It's a story that conjures up ghosts of last August's case of Jessica Dutro murdering her 4-year-old. Last Tuesday Jacqueline Alexander of Memphis punched her son in the face while he was lying in bed because she felt he was “too feminine and too gay,” according to police. Her son, whose age and name haven't yet been disclosed, had bruises on his face when the police arrived, and Alexander was taken in on charges of domestic assault. Yesterday was her first court date.

According to Will Batts of the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Center, this kind of thing is commonplace:

It's shocking every time it happens, but it's not new to us at the center. We hear a lot of stories about people who are assaulted by family members. Young people who are kicked out of their houses when they come out to a parent.

You can watch a CBS News video of the story to find out how her neighbors reacted to the horrific news, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Marriage At the Supreme Court 2.0: The Cases



This article is one in a multipart series leading up to a future Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. The Court has granted review of four marriage cases from the Sixth Circuit and a decision may be handed down at the end of June. Between now and then, Towleroad will break down the cases step by step. Today's topic: The Cases.

Last time, we spoke about the importance of framing the case through the Questions Presented. I argued that despite some concern, the two questions posed in the Supreme Court's order do not indicate that the justices are looking for a way out. They are ready to rule. Before we discuss the substance on which the justices will rule, let's review the four cases that will decide the marriage equality question.


Continue reading "Marriage At the Supreme Court 2.0: The Cases" »


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