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Tennessee TV station refuses to air marriage equality ad featuring gay doctor, reservist

Tennessee TV station refuses to air marriage equality ad featuring gay doctor, reservist
Jesse Ehrenfeld
Jesse Ehrenfeld

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Chattanooga television station won’t run an advertisement in support of gay marriage.

The ad features Jesse Ehrenfeld, a Nashville doctor and Navy reservist who recently returned from Afghanistan. In the ad, Ehrenfeld says, “I was able to stand up and put my life on the line for the freedoms that we all enjoy, and yet I don’t have the freedom to marry my partner Judd.”

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Tennessee is one of four states whose ban on same-sex marriage is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Marc Solomon is the national campaign director at Freedom to Marry, which produced the 30-second advertisement. He said Tuesday that WRCB-TV declined the ad as too controversial. Solomon said other television stations in Chattanooga, Nashville and Memphis are running it.

The WRCB-TV president and general manager Tom Tolar said in an email that the station reviews all commercials before airing them.

“In this case, we decided to not accept ads ‘for gay marriage’ or ‘against gay marriage’,” he wrote.

In an interview, Ehrenfeld said he has mostly received positive feedback from people who have seen the ad. He said he has gotten a couple of online comments from people suggesting he just move to another state, but he said Tennessee is home now.

Ehrenfeld said he hopes his story as a gay man who also is a conservative Republican living in Tennessee causes people in the state to “pause and reflect and have a conversation.”

The ad is here:

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