Memphis, TN, United States (4E) – An international chef from Memphis plans to launch a political fundraiser to unseat a Tennessee state senator for sponsoring a bill allowing wedding service providers to refuse gay customers.
Kelly English, who also runs two local restaurants, offered in his Facebook account to host a fundraiser for anyone who runs against Sen. Brian Kelsey to show his opposition to Senate Bill 2566 or “Turn Away the Gays” bill filed by the lawmaker early this month. English argued that the bill makes a bad impression that Tennessee fosters intolerance in the South.
“I don’t think this a fair representation of Tennessee. The ‘new South’ encompasses everyone: It’s straight and gay,” English, who is straight and married, told ABC News on Friday.
“We do a lot of traveling and we get to cook in a lot of different places, and I hate that someone is making people outside of here think that that’s how people think here,” he said, according to WMCTV.
Taking the cue from English, community members launched a petition rejecting the bill.
Kelsey removed his name as sponsor of the bill, and Sen. Mike Bell of Riceville is now the sponsor. But English said he will still seek Kelsey’s replacement for initiating the bill.
The state senate’s judiciary committee, which is chaired by Kelsey, will discuss the bill on Tuesday.