On Monday evening, the Tennessee House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow local religious officials the right to refuse to marry a gay couple on religious grounds, becoming a grave warning sign for many LGBTQ activists who've expressed their concerns throughout the week.
Meanwhile, the state's Lieutenant Governor, Randy McNally, has raised eyebrows for repeatedly liking and commenting on pictures of an apparently gay and often very nude young man on Instagram.
On multiple posts spanning several months, McNally has left supportive comments on the images of one user named @franklynsuperstar, a 20-year-old queer man whose feed is filled with thirst traps. Many pictures commented on by McNally find franklynsuperstar mostly nude or with his underwear pulled below his waistline.
McNally's comments are not particularly salacious — on one image where Franklyn is completely nude, McNally commented, "Great picture, Finn! Best wishes for continued health and happiness."
According to an interview with franklynsuperstar (aka "Finn") conducted by WKRN, McNally has been Facebook friends with Finn since 2020. McNally would occasionally message him compliments but nothing in Finn's measure that seemed to cross the line.
"To me, I’m not a stranger to compliments, so I don’t really read into them because I just think that’s wrong to assume somebody’s hitting on you just because they’re nice to you," he said. "He did not say he wanted to date me or have sex or anything like that."
The discovery of McNally and Finn's online friendship bewildered social media users who seemed prime to believe that McNally was falling into a familiar trope of an anti-gay politician secretly harboring homosexual thoughts.
Despite the questionable optics of McNally's posting habits, his office has claimed he has no intention of stopping his predilection for leaving heart emojis on barely dressed young men on Instagram.
In a statement given to WKRN, McNally's office responded to the recent viral story and wrote:
Trying to imply something sinister or inappropriate about a great-grandfather’s use of social media says more about the mind of the left-wing operative making the implication than it does about Randy McNally. As anyone in Tennessee politics knows, Lt. Governor McNally is a prolific social media commenter. He takes great pains to view every post he can and frequently posts encouraging things to many of his followers. Does he always use the proper emoji at the proper time? Maybe not. But he enjoys interacting with constituents and Tennesseans of all religions, backgrounds and orientations on social media. He has no intention of stopping.
Mar 10, 2023 at 01:00AM EST
Mar 10, 2023 at 03:10AM EST
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