There are few roads in or out of Dayton, Tennessee, the biggest town in rural Rhea County. Highway 30 is a two-lane country road that starts at Interstate not far from Knoxville--and skips over the Tennessee River before dumping you in Dayton. Highway 27, the four-lane highway, is the quicker way out of town--it's a minute drive south to Chattanooga, the nearest town with anything like a nightlife. Kristie Bacon spends a lot of time on those two roads.
In the same tense, humid courtroom where Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan battled over the teaching of evolution 79 years ago, eight county commissioners on Thursday quickly rescinded an antigay motion that drew national attention -- and some ridicule -- to Dayton once more. The measure, which the commission had passed unanimously Tuesday night, would have banned gays and lesbians from living in Rhea County. The motion had been sent to the county attorney, who was directed to write a resolution that could eventually become Tennessee state law. County Atty. Gary Fritts said that the commissioners had intended, simply, to ban same-sex marriage in Rhea County. But when the wording of the motion became public, Dayton became the center of an ideological firestorm. The last 48 hours had brought a sense of deja vu to this Bible Belt city of front-porch swings and towering magnolias.
Copyright c Baptist Press. Reprinted from Baptist Press www. BP --Attendance was far less than expected, but an inaugural "Gay Day" celebration went ahead May 8 in the town that is better known as the site of the historic Scopes Monkey Trial.
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