Atlanta Fire Chief Facing Heat For Anti-Gay Comments

Atlanta’s fire chief has been terminated after distributing a self-published book he wrote that contained anti-gay comments.

Kelvin J. Cochran was suspended for one month without pay in November and later fired after he distributed a book he wrote in 2013 called Who Told You That You Are Naked? that refer­red to homosexuality as a “perversion.”

In the book, Cochran warned against “uncleanness,” which he defined as “whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion.”

Despite the controversy, Cochran isn’t backing down. While attending the Georgia Baptist Convention, he stuck by his original position.

“God intended for men and women are to be together to have children and populate the Earth,” Cochran said Dec. 9, according to the Newnan Times-Herald. “And any sex outside marriage and outside of a man and woman in holy matrimony is against the word of God. For that stand, I have been laid off for 30 days without pay.”

Cochran’s case has since come to the attention of Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition (FFC), and the Georgia-based Religious Right group is defending the embattled fire chief. In a recent “action alert,” FFC backed Cochran.

“Chief Cochran’s view is as popular now as it was over two-thousand years ago when Jesus said it,” the FFC asserted. “Sexual relationships outside of marriage are ultimately unfulfilling, whether with members of the opposite or same sex, with a single or multiple partners. The Atlanta mayor and city council’s discipline of Chief Cochran is as shallow as their apparent reading of his book.”

FFC has called for Cochran to be reinstated, but it seems local officials were not moved. Atlanta Mayor Ka­sim Reed said in a statement that he was “deeply disturbed” by Coch­ran’s actions and will not tolerate discrimination by government employees.

Kasim Reed also said that Cochran had disobeyed orders not to speak publicly about his termination and had possibly opened the city up to anti-discrimination lawsuits with his criticisms of LGBT residents. 

Alex Wang, an openly gay member of Atlanta’s City Council, called on the mayor to investigate whether Cochran’s beliefs have harmed city employees who are members of the LGBT community.