Nashville Lawmaker Drops Plan To Honor Gay Rugby Tournament After GOP Pushback | Nashville Public Radio

Nashville Lawmaker Drops Plan To Honor Gay Rugby Tournament After GOP Pushback

Feb 18, 2016

State Rep. John Ray Clemmons has withdrawn a resolution honoring the Bingham Cup, an international gay rugby tournament planned for Nashville.

Some Republicans had called the resolution political "shenanigans."

Clemmons, D-Nashville, withdrew House Resolution 150 on Thursday. It described the biennial tournament, which will take place in May, as a "prestigious event" that's expected to bring 1,500 players and guests to the city.

The tournament is named after Mark Bingham, a college rugby player who was among the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93. That's the plane that crashed in a Pennsylvania field en route to Washington on 9/11.

Opponents believed the resolution was designed to trick them into voting for an LGBT event.

Clemmons said a legislative fight would've given the city and state black eyes.

"I didn't want this to be a political issue," he said. "It was well-intended. It was simply to honor an event taking place and adding to my local economy and putting my city on the international stage once again."

A spokesman for the tournament said organizers were "honored to learn that Rep. Clemmons had filed" the resolution and that they had been "floored by the level of support we have received from Nashville."

The dispute is the legislature's second this year over an honorary resolution. Earlier this month, the Senate refused to congratulate activist Renata Soto on being elected chair of a national Latino group.

That resolution was also filed by Clemmons.