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Gay Ban Overturned

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Mar 22, 2004 3:27 PM PST    Text size: 
TENNESSEE – After coming close to a countywide ban on homosexuality, the Rhea County commissioners overturned a unanimous vote from late last week to ban gay sex.

The unanimous vote would have amended Tennessee's criminal code so that gay couples could be charged with "crimes against nature."

According to reports, the public outcry was so fierce and immediate that the conservative commissioners reconvened for what is being described as a "three minute meeting" and decided to reverse their earlier decision.

The commissioner's haste to reverse the decision was reportedly based on knowledge that it was out of their power to issue such a ban after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws in Texas last year.

According to the Associated Press, the county commissioners had intended to send a message to their representative and senator that Rhea County supports the ban on same-sex marriage.

But what the commissioners did not expect was that the public's response to the ban would be as intense as it was, which was summed up by an angry editorial submitted to the local newspaper:

"What an embarrassment to watch on CNN the twang-talking, tobacco-spitting, Bible-desecrating, hate crime offenders prance their medieval age beliefs, leaving the rest of the world confirmed on previous assumptions of what an often backwoods, cow-tipping, discriminating state Tennessee is said to be."

Tennessee's conservative reputation dates back to a 1925 trial in which Rhea Country convicted a high school teacher for teaching evolution.

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