Metro Councilman Jamie Hollin defended Wednesday his actions from the previous night's council meeting, when he erupted into a profanity-ridden tirade aimed at two social conservative colleagues who blocked his attempt to honor high school students who protested the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.
Earlier Tuesday, Hollin had missed a committee meeting in which the resolution had been considered, meaning he had to suspend rules during the full council meeting to vote on the legislation. The bill, a standard honorary resolution, sought to recognize local high school students who went to the steps of the State Capitol during the past legislative session to object to a bill that sought to remove homosexuality from discourse within the state’s public schools.
But two members — Councilmen Phil Claiborne and Jim Gotto, who is also a state representative — objected Tuesday, setting off yelling from Hollin that began on the council floor and spilled into the back council offices after the meeting concluded.
A security guard responded to the scene near the council’s elevator, though the guard told The City Paper he had been stationed nearby anyways.
Hollin’s rant, directed at Claiborne and Gotto, continued as the East Nashville-area councilman stepped into the elevator en route to the courthouse parking garage. Hollin, who sponsored the council’s now-nullified nondiscrimination bill, questioned the motives of Claiborne and Gotto’s opposition, suggesting it was out of disdain for gays and lesbians.
According to other council members who were heading to their cars, Hollin waited in the parking garage and confronted Claiborne and Gotto there as well.
Later Tuesday night, Hollin recorded his thoughts on his blog where he wrote that he made a “conscious decision” to do what he did.
“They showed [Tuesday] how deep their animus for gay people is,” Hollin told The City Paper.
“We have a very limited opportunity to show our respect and appreciation for people that engage in the political process,” Hollin said. “The overwhelming majority of people don’t anyways because they feel like their voice won’t be heard. These students chose to engage against a tilting headwind. And it wasn’t just a one-day show-up. They kept showing up.”
Hollin, who is not running for re-election, will not see his resolution considered this council term.
Gotto declined to comment on Hollin’s reaction and his decision to oppose the resolution when contacted Wednesday.
Claiborne did not immediately respond to a message left by The City Paper on Wednesday.
Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors, who presides over council meetings, said she interpreted Hollin's reaction as frustration over his resolution being deferred by rule.
Neighbors said she doesn't plan to reach out to the three council members when asked if she would.
"We've got three more meetings in this term," Neighbors said. "We did not suspend the rules. We did not have any discussion about it. As far as I'm concerned, that issue is closed."