Tennessee Lawmaker Goes on Homophobic Rant, Says White Men Have 'Very Few Rights'

The Tennessee lawmaker said, "We've got a queer running for president."

A Tennessee elected official went on a homophobic rant during a public meeting and then claimed white men in the United States "have very few rights."

"We've got a queer running for president, if that ain't about as ugly as you can get," said Sevier County Commissioner Warren Hurst at Monday's commission meeting. "I'm not prejudiced, but by golly, a white male in this country has very few rights and they're getting took more everyday," he said.

His remarks prompted Sara Thompson, chair of the Sevier County Democrats, to rebuke Hurst. "Excuse me," she said, "this is not professional."

She then walked out of the meeting. "I was actually incensed," she told WVLT-TV. "I think that was a very demeaning and nasty thing to even talk about."

Hurst's "queer" comment apparently referred to Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and the only openly gay presidential candidate.

His remarks set off a controversy in one of Tennessee's major tourist areas. The county is home to Dollywood, the Dolly Parton theme park.

The county's Twitter account posted a statement Tuesday criticizing Hurst's comments.

"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 post said. "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."