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Tennessee official draws ire after comments about 'queer running for president,' rights of white men

Warren Hurst made homophobic comments at public meeting
Posted at 3:10 PM, Oct 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-23 15:10:31-04

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. — A county commissioner in Tennessee is drawing the ire of gay rights activists and some Sevier County residents after making controversial and homophobic statements at a public meeting Monday.

“It's time folks that we wake up, it's been time, it's past time," Sevier County Commissioner Warren Hurst said when asked if the county should become a Second Amendment sanctuary.

He then discussed what he called the "liberal agenda," according to WVLT.

"We got a queer running for president, if that ain't about as ugly as you can get," the Republican elected official said. Hurst is presumed to be speaking about South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the only openly gay 2020 presidential candidate.

His comments drew mostly applause from the crowd, but prompted at least one angry reaction from a woman at the meeting.

"This is not a professional thing, this is bull----," the woman said as she stormed out.

But Hurst continued, saying white men have few rights.

"I'm not prejudice, but by golly … a white male in this country has very few rights and they're getting took more every day,” he said.

After the meeting Hurst told WVLT that he's entitled to his opinion and stands by it.

The incident prompted Sevier County to release a statement.

"The statements made by Commissioner Hurst at the Sevier County Commission meeting of October 21, 2019, do not reflect the opinion or position of Sevier County administration," the statement reads. "Sevier County is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or status in any other group protected by law."

In addition, there are now calls for Hurst's resignation. According to WBIR, the Tennessee Equality Project is calling on Hurst to apologize and resign. The organization also has a protest planned for a commission meeting in November.