Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday Brunch on the Go: Probable Hate Crime in Vonore and more

Brunch came from Hardee's today. Cancel that. It was breakfast. It's too early for brunch and the ballcapped customers would have looked at me like I was crazy if I had asked them, "How's your brunch this morning?" Our president, H.G. Stovall, is on the road today and he and I always make a stop at Hardee's when we travel for TEP. So I raise my cup of Diet Coke to you, H.G., and wish you safe travels.

Hate crime in Vonore, TN: A fire that destroyed the home of a lesbian couple in Vonore about a week ago is finally getting some media attention. Here's WATE's coverage complete with a photo of "Queers" spraypainted on the house. More coverage is available from The Daily Times (Blount County). The couple had been harassed by a neighbor in the weeks leading up to the incident. The only fortunate, though ironic, aspect of the story is that the couple and their daughter were in Nashville celebrating their 5th anniversary of moving into the house while it burned to the ground.

PFLAG Maryville, the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, and the East TN Equality Council have offered support to the family. If you would like to help, Knoxville Pridefest's blog offers specific ways to do that.

We are all hopeful that the family remain safe and that they get justice under the Tennessee hate crimes statute and the new federal hate crimes law. The matter is in the hands of law enforcement and we will all be watching how they handle the matter.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell: As many of you heard, a federal judge has declared the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy unconstitutional. It's good news, but it's not stopping advocacy groups around the country from pressing the Senate for a legislative repeal. Tomorrow the TEP Nashville Committee is holding a Don't Ask, Don't Tell Barbecue at Stirrup to get our members to contact Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker to support repeal. That will be an uphill climb, but we believe they still need to hear from us so that they know people in Tennessee want to see this outdated, harmful, discriminatory policy changed.

Volunteers are signing up: This week TEP PAC started recruiting volunteers for pro-equality candidates for the General Assembly. We're getting a great response. What I'm noticing is that candidates are having a tough time getting all the help they need. We believe that they will be a valuable resource to candidates who deserve the help. If you would like to volunteer 2 hours between September 20 and November 2 to help a good candidate, contact us at and we'll try to find a match for you.

Have a great weekend!
-Chris Sanders

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