Ex-Atlanta fire chief calls for passage of anti-gay bill on Capitol Hill
Kelvin Cochran, the former Atlanta fire chief fired last year after publishing an anti-gay book, was in the spotlight on July 12 at a congressional hearing where he testified in favor of the anti-LGBT First Amendment Defense Act. Cochran said that FADA would protect federal employees from being fired for their beliefs, which he says was what the city of Atlanta did to him.
“Please pass the First Amendment Defense Act and send the message that there is a place for me, and others like me, in the public square. In a truly diverse society, no one deserves to be ostracized, marginalized, or driven out of their profession because of their beliefs about marriage,” Cochran said in prepared remarks before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
All 10 GOP congressman from Georgia have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, as well as Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue.
The Georgia legislature took up a version of the First Amendment Defense Act in this year’s session. The sponsor of the bill, state Sen. Greg Kirk (R-Americus) later rolled in the most anti-LGBT language of the bill into HB 257, the bill that outraged LGBT activists and led to threats of boycotts from corporations across the country. The bill passed both chambers of the legislature but was then vetoed by Gov. Nathan Deal.
Cochran later said that the “the actions of the City of Atlanta do not reflect American values,” and that the city was labeling those who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman as “outcasts.”
Cochran came under fire at the end of 2014 when passages of his self-published book, “Who Told You That You Were Naked?” became public.
Mayor Kasim Reed suspended Cochran for 30 days while the city investigated the incident, then fired him last January. Cochran filed a federal lawsuit against the city last February and a judge ruled against the city’s motion to dismiss the suit last December.
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