In an abrupt move, the Blount County commission — after sparking national headlines the past week — voted not to move forward with its meeting agenda. It effectively closed discussion on the anti-marriage resolution proposed by commissioner Karen Miller.
In a runup to the meeting, the Tennessee Equality Project had mobilized over 100 people to attend the meeting, many of whom were prepared to speak to the commission regarding the resolution that both urged the Tennessee Legislature to nullify marriage equality in the state and asked "God that He pass [Blount County] by in His Coming Wrath."
Following the meeting, TEP coordinator Gwen Schalik claimed victory on Facebook.
WHAT HAPPENED TONIGHT: Roll was called, then there was a vote for the setting of the agenda for items that were going to be discussed tonight. When that vote was called, only 5 people supported moving forward and 10 voted against it. That meant that the agenda for the evening had failed and they couldn’t move forward. So a commissioner made the motion to adjourn the meeting for the night. Commissioner Miller also advised that she will continue to introduce this same resolution.
WHAT THIS MEANS: As of this moment, there is no agenda for the October Commissioners meeting on the 15th. The County Mayor will have to call a special meeting to set the agenda for the Commissioner’s meeting. From our understanding, Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell does not support Commissioner Karen Miller’s resolution. Per the commissioners website regarding the rules: “ Special meetings may be called by the County Mayor, the Chairman, or a majority of the members of the Board at any time with a five day public notice given. At the discretion of the County Mayor, the Chairman, and the County Clerk, special meetings may be held at locations other than the County Courthouse.”
Watch the commission vote down the entire agenda for the meeting here. The vote begins at the 37:21 mark.
The Knoxville News Sentinel interviewed both the resolution sponsor Karen Miller, who claimed she was surprised and disappointed that citizens weren't able to share their views on the resolution, and Schablik, who shared news that a former commission had not ever seen that happen before. Watch that video here.
Graphic via Twitter