Capitol Press Conference Interrupted By Protesters

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A press conference was abruptly ended when protesters began shouting and yelling over the Republican lawmakers speaking at the podium. 

State Representative Mark Pody (R–Lebanon) and State Senator Mae Beavers (R–Mt. Juliet) held the press conference to discuss the recently proposed "Bathroom Bill" and "Defense of Marriage Act."

The room was full of people who, at first, silently protested by holding up signs, but grew louder once Rep. Pody began speaking about the marriage bill.

That's when Rep. Pody said "...Thank you for coming" and walked out of the room.

The protesters quickly followed him out of the room and through the halls all the way to his office.

The "Natural Marriage Defense Act" would declare that Tennessee will only recognize and give effect to marriages between one man and one woman and would not recognize any court decision that purports to strike down natural marriage. Pody mentioned the bill received nearly 80 percent of support.

Trisha Farmer of Mount Juliet attended the meeting and said she supports marriage equality.

"I was hoping to hear some resolution about what they're going to do with this bill feeling that it's extremely unconstitutional, and we already have the Supreme Court on our side. Anything other than pulling this bill is going to be unacceptable for those of us who believe in equality," she said.

Kristin Kudja, who also attended, said she's fearful of the marriage equality law being reversed. She and her wife have been together for 20 years and have adopted seven children.

"There's more that binds us than separates us. I'm a mom of seven fantastic children, many with special needs, who just want to live and raise our children and have a decent education - just the same as they do. We're really not as different at all except for gender," she said.

Since the press conference ended early, the two lawmakers did not get a chance to speak at length about either bill.

The "Bathroom Bill" would make it illegal for public school students to use a bathroom other than the one that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate.

It failed in legislature last year. It was protested and criticized nationwide, specifically in the LGBT community.

Pody said he hoped to reschedule another press conference in the future.

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