Published: March 17, 2004
Tenn. County Wants to Charge Homosexuals
DAYTON, Tenn. (AP) - The county that was the site of the Scopes ``Monkey Trial'' over the teaching of evolution is asking lawmakers to amend state law so the county can charge homosexuals with crimes against nature.
The Rhea County commissioners approved the request 8-0 Tuesday.
Commissioner J.C. Fugate, who introduced the measure, also asked the county attorney to find a way to enact an ordinance banning homosexuals from living in the county.
``We need to keep them out of here,'' Fugate said.
The vote was denounced by Matt Nevels, president of the Chattanooga chapter of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
``That is the most farfetched idea put forth by any kind of public official,'' Nevels said. ``I'm outraged.''
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas' sodomy laws as a violation of adults' privacy.
Rhea County is one of the most conservative counties in Tennessee. It holds an annual festival commemorating the 1925 trial at which John T. Scopes was convicted of teaching evolution. The verdict was thrown out on a technicality. The trial became the subject of the play and movie ``Inherit the Wind.''
In 2002, a federal judge ruled unconstitutional the teaching of a Bible class in the public schools.