A Nashville woman who wrote to a Tennessee state senator about a piece of controversial legislation this week got a response she wasn't expecting.
Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, advised the woman to "get therapy" after she complained about his proposal that deals with schools and homosexuality.
Campfield, whose email response has spread across the internet and was even picked up by gossip website TMZ, told Channel 4 News he's not a "piñata" for gay-rights supporters.
His so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill would prohibit the teaching of homosexuality to elementary and middle school students.
In addition, Campfield has changed the wording of his bill this year to allow school counselors to talk to kids, but it also requires the counselors to notify parents about the conversation.
Nashville resident Telisha Arguelles Cobb said she is not a fan of Campfield's proposal, so she did what many people do: wrote an email to the legislator.
"While I didn't expect Mr. Campfield to agree with me that he's an embarrassment to the state of Tennessee, I didn't expect him to write back so unprofessionally," Cobb said.
In the email, she asked Campfield to search his heart, his values and his Christianity to find a better way to represent the state as a whole.
Campfield wrote back, saying, "You seem to have some serious deep anger issues. Have you ever thought about therapy? I hear they are doing some wonderful things with medication these days."
"I think the reply shows a complete inability to do his job as a public servant. State dollars are paying him to sit in that office, and part of his job is to listen to us. And he needs to respond like a rational, sane, caring human being," Cobb said.
Campfield told Channel 4 News he wrote the email response because he's tired of being bullied by gay rights activists.
"They try and intimidate and bully people and threaten people and shout them down and use the media to attack them. I'm just not playing. If they want to do that stuff, they can get somebody else, but I'm not their piñata," Campfield said.
Cobb said she's no activist, she's just a mom who believes in equality. She said she decided to share the email publicly in hopes that Campfield's constituents in Knoxville will see his true colors.
Campfield said he's standing by what he said in the email response. Earlier this week, he said the current version of the "Don't Say Gay" bill also has a House sponsor and he's optimistic about its passage.
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