State House candidates to host LGBT-focused meet & greet

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Rutherford County's only gay bar will play host this weekend to a meet and greet for local state house candidates Laura Bohling and Brandon Thomas.

The candidates invite Murfreesboro, LaVergne, Smyrna, and Eagleville area residents to stop in at Chameleons Lounge on Saturday April 23 at 8pm for their campaign kick-off event.

Laura Bohling, a former Republican Circuit Court Clerk for Rutherford County, has long been a supporter of LGBT equality, but found greater purpose when her son came out a few years ago. She has since switched parties and is running as a Democrat in district 34 which encompasses parts of Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Eagleville and all points in between.

“When my son came out in November of 2014, what had always been a logical decision to support the LBGT community became both an emotional and spiritual decision too,” she said.

“People are people – period," Bohling added. "Seeing the courage it took for my son to come out to friends and family naturally made me want to follow his example to be more vocal in supporting the community. One of my goals as a legislator is to be certain that all people living in Tennessee feel welcome and once again proud to be Tennesseans.”

Brandon Thomas has been an advocate for the LGBT community – of which he is also a member – since high school. Thomas worked hard during his college career to make Middle Tennessee State University’s campus a more welcoming place for LGBT students, and he hopes to do the same for the state. He is running in district 49 which includes portions of Murfreesboro, LaVergne and Smyrna and rural areas to the west.

“The anti-LGBT bills in our legislature don’t reflect the beliefs of the Tennesseans I know,” Thomas said. “The Tennesseans I know understand that LGBT Tennesseans are their friends, family and neighbors. And that’s why I’d like to welcome everyone, of any orientation, to come out to this event and meet Laura and myself. We want to talk to you about whatever issue matters to you, whether it’s an LGBT issue or not.”

Chameleons is located at 6528 New Nashville Highway in Smyrna.