Resolution opposing same-sex marriage fails in Washington Co. Commission

WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – Monday night, the Washington County, TN commission discussed a resolution asking the state to stand up to the Supreme Court on the definition of marriage.  This was the commission’s second attempt at discussing the resolution.

There were mixed emotions, as  the commission failed to pass the resolution.

At least 60 people signed up Tuesday for pubic comment. The discussion lasted more than 6 hours.

John Baker of the Pride Community of the Tri-Cities asked commissioners to think about everyone who lives in Washington County. Baker also called the resolution a “mean-spirited” resolution.

Commissioners burned the midnight oil to discuss the rest of their February agenda at 12:46 a.m.  Our reporter Jordan Moore took a photo of the 600-page agenda.

More than 15 deputies and, at least, five fire personnel were called in to assist with the larger than normal crowd.  The meeting was simulcasted in four additional courtrooms and could also be seen on monitors in the hallway. More than 400 people were in attendance  – filling all five of the courtrooms and spilling over into the hallway.

Last month, the meeting was canceled due to the large turnout. There was not enough room in the Jonesborough courtroom to accommodate everyone who showed up.

Most people of the people were waiting to hear how the commissioners would vote on a resolution that would defy the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.  Some showed their stance against the resolution by wearing the red.

The chairman of the commission, Greg Matherly, told News Channel 11, they’ve made some changes to the building by adding audio and video throughout and expanding into five other courtrooms.


12:16 p.m: The vote for the resolution was 12 “yes” and 11 “no.” The same-sex marriage resolution failed. In order to pass there must a majority of 13 “yes” votes.

12:02 p.m: Another reminder about this meeting a lot of deputies and fire personnel are having to work overtime. Commissioner proposed amendment to same-sex marriage resolution but other commissioners say it sounds like an entire new resolution. County attorney agrees it sounds like a whole new resolution.

7:53 p.m: Next public comment urged commissioners to pass resolution so they uphold Tennessee law and God’s law. The next public commenter said the LGBT community has always been here says we are your friends and family. The next public commenter said this resolution will impact LGBT community. “If you are so worried who someone else is marrying … it has no impact on you.” Matherly announced the next round of public comment and some people are having to come in from other courtrooms.

7:37 p.m:  Second public comment says “God loves all people” but it does not make same-sex marriage right. Commissioner chairman Matherly said he knows it’s emotional but wants to make sure audience is quiet so people can hear. Next public comment is from Greeneville, TN. Matherly said public comment only allows Washington County residents to speak. Next public comment said “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” One audience member got visibly upset and walked out.

7:20 p.m: Public comment has started on the same-sex marriage resolution.There are 57 people expected to speak and each will be given 3 minutes.

7 p.m: The vote on the motion failed with 12 commissioners voting yes to end the vote on the resolution and 11 commissioners voting no to keep the resolution. For the motion to have passed, there would have had to have been 13 yes votes. The vote on the motion failed with 12 commissioners voting yes to end the vote on the resolution and 11 commissioners voting no to keep the resolution. For the motion to have passed, there would have had to have been 13 yes votes. Commissioner Matherly said 57 people signed up to speak and public comment is a time for people to speak. Those speaking will be given a 3 minute time limit.

6:13 p.m: Commissioner Joe Wise moved to take the same-sex marriage resolution off the agenda.

News Channel 11’s Jordan Moore was at the meeting Monday night. Here are her Tweets:


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