Senate Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) presides over the chamber on June 1, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)
Senate Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) is out with a new statement saying he will be ceasing social media activity after becoming aware of the recent posts. Here it is:
I’ve been active on social media for a long time. I made a point of connecting with people not only in posts but also in comments and messages. My comments on Franklin McClure and others who have been drawing so much attention lately are no different. Although I now see that I should have been more careful about how my comments and activities are perceived, my intention has always been engagement and encouragement. I apologize for any embarrassment my postings have caused my family, friends and colleagues. For this reason, I will be pausing my social media activities to reflect on social media use and receive more guidance.
While I’ve made some mistakes in my use of social media, characterizing myself and my record as somewhat “anti-gay” is inaccurate. On a personal level, nothing could be further from the truth. I believe that every human being, regardless of their orientation, has value and deserves respect. I am 79 years old and grew up in a time when homosexuality was deeply shameful. And I still hold the traditional Tennessee values in high esteem. But I now have friends and even a relative who is gay. I’ve worked hard to better understand this community while not compromising on trying to protect children and my own values. In particular, I came down from the lectern to speak out against a law that would have restricted homosexual adoption. I have also supported legislation that would protect children and keep profanity out of the public eye. And I support traditional marriage. There is no contradiction here.
I encourage everyone to look at my recordings in their entirety. It is both thoroughly conservative and compassionate towards others. While I may disagree with certain policies of certain LGBTQ activists, all people deserve love and compassion, regardless of their race, gender, or other characteristics.
Criticism of my social media activities is fair and I took it to heart. All I ask is that people look at the facts and my actual record. Again, conservative and “anti-gay” are not synonymous. Not in general and certainly not for me. While I realize that this may not happen immediately, I hope that this investigation into my social media activity will be completed and that we can all soon ensure Tennessee remains the best state in the Union to live in, to work and raise a family.