Tennessee state lawmaker Rep. Bill Sanderson (R) announced Tuesday he would be stepping down from his legislative seat. His resignation became effective at noon on Wednesday.
Sanderson told The Tennessean that his White Squirrel Winery in the western part of the state needs more of his attention as it’s become a full-time job. And, due to his legislative responsibilities, he’s “lost the fruit of 135 peach trees.”
He also shares that his son-in-law is undergoing a cancer journey, putting pressures on his family.
This is about where I should note that the LGBTQ community in Tennessee probably won’t miss the Republican lawmaker.
As the Friendly Atheist reports, Sanderson has voted against LGBTQ interests many times during his time in office.
Since being elected to office in 2010, he has voted in support of a bill that would prohibit communities from adopting anti-LGBTQ discrimination ordinances; voted for legislation that would allow adoption agencies to deny same-sex couples; and voted to supporting a resolution condemning the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court Obergefell ruling that made marriage equality the law of the land.
So, you’d probably agree that it’s totally weird that The Tennessean would bother asking Sanderson if anyone “had threatened to release any compromising information on him” in the legislature.
Like, that would be really weird, huh?
“Hell, no,” Sanderson replied when asked. “As far as I know if there’s anything up here on me, I’m unaware of it.”
Which I guess means he hasn’t read political reporter Cari Wade Gervin’s post regarding the 59-year-old’s alleged Grindr activity.
According to Gervin, “Sanderson’s extracurricular activities have long been an open secret around the Capitol.”
Gervin also shares that Sanderson has known about the content of her reporting since Friday, begged her not to run the story, and denies all of the allegations.
Those allegations, according to Gervin, go back to published screen captures of sexting messages in 2014.
The Grindr messages that I reviewed, as in the ones posted by The Dirty, instruct the men to text him at a phone number with a 731 area code. If you Google that number, you’ll find page after page connecting that number to either the White Squirrel Winery — which Sanderson owns — or sites where it is listed as Sanderson’s cell number. The texts I saw were sent by the same number. It is the same number I used to call Sanderson for comment on this story and have texted him on since. (Again, he claims that the texts were faked.)
Like many, Gervin agrees outing folks is usually not appropriate unless those folks have used their elected office to make life harder for LGBTQ people.
But I’m not here to judge. Click over to Gervin’s lengthy post and decide for yourself.
Here’s hoping Sanderson has more time for his ‘peaches.’
This article represents the opinions of the author and not those of Instinct Magazine nor any of its contributors.