A Tennessee Republican state lawmaker resigned on Wednesday, citing family health concerns and demands from his wine business — but some allege the real reasons behind his resignation stem from his concern that a local journalist may have discovered the Christian conservative is not who he says he is.
Rep. Bill Sanderson, a Republican from the western part of the state, denies the allegations being made against him by local journalist Cari Gervin, who wrote in a post on Wednesday that Sanderson’s resignation came about in suspicious proximity to the date she called to ask him questions about his personal life.
Gervin alleged in an article that Sanderson has for years been using the gay dating app Grindr to meet up with men. Some of the men Sanderson has met, Gervin alleges, have been as much as 40-years his junior.
Gervin cited several unnamed sources in her post, and claims Sanderson’s sexuality has been an “open secret” for some time now at the capitol. While she understood she might be criticized for outing him, she said it was important to do, given the hypocritical nature of the lawmaker.
As the Friendly Atheist points out, Sanderson has a history of far-right, Christian conservative views.
In 2017, he pushed to have the words “In God We Trust” on every license plate. (The bill passed, but only after it was amended to make the phrase optional.) He also voted for a bill to ban abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat (which often occurs before women even know they’re pregnant). He helped kill a resolution denouncing neo-Nazis. And he did plenty to block pro-LGBTQ bills, including voting for a bill blocking communities from adopting policies banning anti-LGBTQ discrimination, supporting a resolution against the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling that legalized marriage equality, and voting for a bill allowing adoption agencies to discriminate against gay couples.
Sanderson has fended off the claims that he’s met with other men for rendezvous. He’s even told others that he’s been planning to resign for months.
Whether Gervin’s allegations toward Sanderson are true or not, we don’t definitively know at this time. However, Gervin notes that Sanderson’s resignation came about after she had contacted him on Friday, telling him about the accusations being made regarding his sexuality. Gervin claims Sanderson “begged” her not to publish the story.
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