Tennessee state senator Stacey Campfield has made his name by being the most vocally anti-gay member of the state legislature. Early last year, Campfield introduced the "Don't Say Gay" bill, which would make it illegal for teachers to discuss homosexuality with students not in high school. More recently, Campfield said last week that it is "virtually, not completely, but virtually impossible to contract AIDS... through heterosexual sex." (Campfield's claims were quickly disputed by the director of the Knox County Health Department, who said anyone who has sex with other people is at risk of contracting AIDS, "regardless of their sexual orientation.")
Campfield's ostensible obsession with attacking homosexuals has made him notorious among Tennessee residents, who elected Campfield to his current office in 2010. That notoriety ended in a confrontation on Sunday evening.
Attempting to dine at Knoxville's Bistro at the Bijou (ironically located on Gay Street), Campfield was met by the Bistro's owner, Martha Boggs, who told him he couldn't eat there. "I didn't want his hate in my restaurant," Boggs told the Metro Pulse Monday morning. "I told him he wasn't welcome here. I feel like he's gone from being stupid to being dangerous, and I wanted to stand up to him."
After Boggs kicked Campfield out, she took her restaurant's Facebook wall to write, "I hope that Stacey Campfield now knows what it's like to be unfairly discriminated against." It was a funny bon mot, but not an accurate one: Barring someone service because they're black or a woman is unfair, because gender and race are something people can't change about themselves. Barring someone service because they publicly spew dangerous lies with which you disagree, on the other hand, well, that's just your right.