Restaurant Owner Kicks Out Tenn. Sen. For Anti-Gay Views
When Tennessee Sen. Stacey Campfield (R) went to to have brunch at the Bistro at the Bijou in Knoxville last Sunday, the restaurant's owner kicked the cracker to the curb for his use of homophobic comments, Knoxnews.com reported.
"When I saw him at the front door, I told him to leave," Martha Boggs, the owner of Bistro at the Bijou said. "It's just my way to show support for the gay community and stand up to somebody I think is a bully. He's really gone from being stupid to dangerous. I think he needs to know what it feels like to be discriminated against."
Last week the GOP state senator was on Sirius XM's LGBT station OutQ and claimed that AIDS began because a gay airline pilot had sex with monkeys. He then went on to say that it was "virtually impossible" to become infected with the deadly disease through heterosexual sex.
"I was talking last week on a radio show and I said the homosexual lifestyle is a dangerous lifestyle," Campfield said. "There are heterosexuals in Africa that do have it (AIDS), but the odds of a person getting AIDS in America is much less unless you're having sex with a high-risk group."
"My understanding is that it is virtually - not completely, but virtually - impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex," he added.
Campfield wrote a blog post about being kicked out of the local restaurant and in turn, likened himself to Jesus and the incident to the civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s.
"Unfortunately some people do not let facts get in the way of their prejudice," he wrote. "I guess some people still support segregation. Just segregation of thought."
"Some people have told me my civil rights were violated under the 1964 civil-rights act in that a person cannot be denied service based on their religious beliefs," he wrote. "(I am Catholic and the Catholic Church does not support the act of homosexuality) I had not thought about that much.
"As Jesus said, 'If you are not welcomed in a town shake the dust off your feet and move on.' I just figured this is another example of the open-minded tolerant left. They claim tolerances for divergent points of view. Until someone actually has one. Then they don't know how to handle it."
Boggs says that Campfiled has eaten at her restaurant in the past but after he made the homophobic comments, she was fed up.
"He's been here two or three times before," she said. "I just wanted to make my point. He didn't have much to say. He left graciously."
This isn't the first time the senator has been removed from a public place. In 2009, on Halloween Day, Campfield was kicked out of the University of Tennessee's Neyland Stadium for wearing a Mexican-style wrestler's mask. Additionally, in 2002, he was removed by security guards from the Civic Coliseum for getting into a fight with another man over a sign Campfield carried. The sign was making fun of then-Gov. Phil Bredesen (D).
Campfield wrote on his blog that Boggs yelled at him, called him names and wouldn't serve him because "of my alleged beliefs saying I hate gays."
The senator has shown his support for anti-gay policies, however, such as Tennessee's "Don't Say Gay" bill. The proposed law would prohibit teachers from discussing sexual minorities in public schools until students enter the ninth grade, EDGE reported.
The bill passed the State Senate last year after being altered to only teach "natural human reproduction" in public schools. The bill currently sits in the House.
Although the anti-gay bill could pass into law, there are currently two petitions that address gay bullying and hate speech in Tennessee. Nearly 28,000 people have signed an online petition opposing the "License to Bully" bill. Many gay rights activists believe that proposed legislation would allow students to justify bullying their LGBT classmates by citing their political or religious views.
"I believe if I was standing at a dressing room and my wife or one of my daughters was in the dressing room and a man tried to go in there - I don't care if he thinks he's a woman and tries on clothes with them in there - I'd just try to stomp a mudhole in him and then stomp him dry," Floyd said.
Floyd is a strong supporter of the state's recently introduced "Bathroom Harassment Act." The bill would fine a transgender person $50 for using a public bathroom and dressing room, EDGE reported.
"State Rep. Richard Floyd does not have the right to threaten transgendered women in his state," the petition says. "Hate speech like this should not be tolerated!"
Currently, more than 5,500 people have signed the online petition and it will be sent to Tenn. Gov. Haslam and to the state's Legislature.