MTSU students, families protest State’s Rights Resolution

Rutherford County Commission, State's Rights Act, MTSU
Rutherford County residents, including MTSU alumni, parents and students, wear red to rally against the State's Rights Act at the Rutherford County Commission meeting on January 14.

Photo by Sarah Grace Taylor // Managing Editor

MTSU students, alumni and parents attended tonight’s Rutherford County Commissioner meeting to protest the State’s Rights Resolution, which the commissioners voted to pass with two new amendments.

If passed at the state level, the act will allow state representatives to dismiss rulings made by the Supreme Court that are not in agreement with the Tennessee State Constitution. These rulings include the legalization of same sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act. The new amendments added words to the original motion to make the guidelines of which rulings could be rejected more strict.

Members and supporters of the Tennessee Equality Project voiced their concerns with the resolution before the commissioners took their vote.

“I am very alarmed by the State’s Rights Resolution to be considered at tonight’s meeting. It is, of course, primarily aimed at the Supreme Court’s same sex marriage ruling,” said Sara Mitchell, mother of two MTSU students and Murfreesboro resident.

She also said the act would only result in costly lawsuits, discrimination against the LGBT community and hurt Rutherford County’s chance of attracting progressive businesses.

“If we want MTSU to be able to attract the best and brightest students, we need to change our image,” she said.

MTSU, Political Science, Rutherford County Commission, State's Rights Act
MTSU senior political science major Madison Biggs speaks against the State’s Rights Resolution at the Rutherford County Commissioners meeting on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. (MTSU Sidelines / Sarah Grace Taylor)

MTSU senior and political science major, Madison Biggs, also spoke before the committee as an opponent of the resolution. Biggs quoted Article VI of the United States Constitution, which says the Constitution is “the supreme law of the land.”

“I think [the resolution] is a violation of people’s Constitutional rights,” Biggs told Sidelines after the meeting. “I don’t see anything actually happening in the State House, but I think it’s embarrassing for Rutherford County.”

Following the vote, Chris Sanders, Executive Director of the Tennessee Equality Project spoke to the crowd of State’s Rights Resolution opponents who supported the Tennessee Equality Project with both signs and wearing red.

“What happened was the commissioners needed a way of saving face so they didn’t utterly withdraw the resolution, they just kept amending it until it didn’t do what it originally said,” Sanders said.

Despite the outcome of the vote, Sanders said he was pleased that the presence of the group caused the original amendment to be changed.

“Regardless of how they feel about the individual issue, [the commissioners] now know that hundreds of their constituents in this county support equality, and I think that was eye opening for them,” he said.

At the moment the resolution has no legal effect and will be pushed onto the General Assembly.

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To contact News Editor Amanda Freuler, email

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Eric Martin
    January 15, 2016

    Just imagine what a local governing board for MTSU would look like and do. Scary thought.