GOP lawmaker who opposes LGBTQ rights resigns after allegedly soliciting gay sex

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Tennessee state Rep. Bill Sanderson, an anti-LGBTQ Republican, resigned suddenly amid allegations he was using Grindr to solicit sex from men.

Tennessee state Rep. Bill Sanderson, a Republican with a long voting history opposed to LGBTQ rights, resigned suddenly on Wednesday, with some claiming he did so because allegations surfaced that he was seeking sexual relations with men.

Sanderson told the Tennessean he is resigning to spend more time at home and to tend to his winery. When asked if there was any scandal related to his resignation, Sanderson told the outlet, "As far as I know, if there's anything up here on me, I'm unaware of it."

Local reporter Cari Gervin, however, says Sanderson has been "openly soliciting sex with much younger men on Grindr, a gay hook-up and dating app, both from his home in West Tennessee and in Nashville." Gervin claims to have evidence of Sanderson's exploits on Grindr, including screenshots of explicit photos he allegedly sent and racy messages, and she also said she heard from one young man who allegedly met Sanderson at his winery.

Gervin says Sanderson used his own phone number and photo on Grindr, and the number used on Grindr is the same one she used to contact Sanderson about the allegations. Sanderson denies everything and claims the messages and photos are fake.

"I've seen a lot and done a lot, but I really haven't had a connection with a guy and I have a burning desire to have that relationship," a 2013 Grindr profile allegedly belonging to Sanderson says. "I like down and dirty guy to guy play too! So, I guess you might say, nothing will be held back."

Gervin reports that she spoke to Sanderson about the forthcoming story several days before he announced his resignation, adding the "timing of his stepping down is not a coincidence."

If the allegations are true, Sanderson's personal exploits are diametrically opposed to public persona. During his time in the state legislature, Sanderson has been a reliable vote against the LGBTQ community.

According to LGBTQ Nation, Sanderson voted against allowing cities to create their own anti-LGBTQ discrimination ordinances, signed onto a resolution denouncing the U.S. Supreme Court ruling creating marriage equality, and backed a measure allowing therapists to turn away LGBTQ clients.

On his campaign website, Sanderson describes himself as "a conservative fighter" who is "proudly pro-life and pro-family." He also declares he is will "preserve the values that have defined our families for generations."

When asked by the Tennessean about the timing of his resignation, Sanderson claims, "I've been pondering this for two months," telling the publication he was waiting on the right time.

It seems as though the moment after allegations of his sexual exploits surfaced is the right time Sanderson was waiting for.

Published with permission of The American Independent.