Atlanta Mayor Defends Himself After Firing Anti-Gay Fire Chief
Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was fired on Tuesday following anti-gay comments published in his book Who Told You That You Were Naked? In it he refers to homosexuality as "unclean," "a sexual perversion," "vulgar" and "inappropriate." Cochran's firing follows his month long suspension in November.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced Cochran's firing at a press conference and Reed defends himself against claims that he was firing Cochran based on his Christian faith. Watch Reed's statement (click the link marked "Post" below if the video doesn't embed.)
Reed said, "This is about how we treat one another. And so those folks who are calling me and telling me I should retain him. I just want you to know one thing. His religious decisions are not the basis of the problem. His judgment is the basis of the problem."
For his part, Cochran makes no apologies. USA Today reports:
Still in uniform after the news conference, Cochran told reporters, "I'm not apologetic for writing the book."
He said he will not hide his Christian faith.
"Everything I wrote in the book is based on scriptures, not my opinions," said Cochran.
Cochran said he only learned that he was losing his job about an hour before the news conference.
"LGBT citizens deserve the right to express their belief regarding sexual orientation and deserve to be respected for their position without hate and discrimination, but Christians also have the right to express their beliefs as well," said Cochran.
Reed doesn't list discrimination as the reason for Cochran's termination; he says Cochran violated the City's Code of Conduct by releasing the book.