Anti-gay Tenn. lawmaker behind ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill defeated in reelection bid

Stacey Campfield AP

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — An anti-gay Tennessee state lawmaker who has spent much of his legislative career sponsoring anti-LGBT bills, and who once blamed AIDS on a gay man having sex with monkeys, was soundly defeated Thursday in his bid for a second Senate term.

State Sen. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) garnered on 28 percent of the vote in Thursday’s GOP primary, losing to Richard Briggs, a Knox County commissioner, reports The Tennessean.

Campfield, first elected to the state House in 2004, and to the Senate in 2010, has a long history of controversial statements and anti-gay legislative initiatives.

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He repeatedly sought to ban teachers from mentioning or discussing gay issues in public schools through his failed “Don’t Say Gay” legislation. In 2012 he drew fire after telling a satellite radio host that HIV and AIDS originated from a gay airline pilot having sex with a monkey and that it was nearly “impossible” for AIDS to be contracted through heterosexual sex.

Campfield, a 46-year-old confirmed bachelor, has also said homosexuality is a “learned behavior.”

Earlier this year, Campfield compared the insurance requirement under President Barack Obama’s health care law to the forced deportation of Jews during the Holocaust, writing in a blog post that “Democrats bragging about the number of mandatory sign ups for Obamacare is like Germans bragging about the number of mandatory sign ups for ‘train rides’ for Jews in the 40s.”

Following his defeat Thursday, Campfield posted on his blog a video of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” under the subject line, “That was fun.”

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