An NBC-affiliated television station in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has declined to air a pro-gay marriage ad starring a conservative Republican soldier.
Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld is a combat anesthesiologist who served in Afghanistan with the Navy. In the ad, which is produced by the group Freedom To Marry, he says that he's "fighting a different fight" in the state where he and his partner, Judd Taback, live.
“I’m a Republican, I’m a doctor and I’m a soldier,” Ehrenfeld says in a voice-over in the commercial. “As a military physician, I take care of other people’s loved ones who are wounded in combat. But here at home, I’m fighting a different fight. Because I’m gay, I’m not allowed to marry my partner here in Tennessee where we live.”
The station's president said it chose not to run the ad because they felt it was too controversial.
"It’s just a very controversial and personal issue, and we just choose to not air a commercial on either side of that debate,” Tom Tolar, the president and general manager of WRCB, told BuzzFeed News. "People probably have really strong opinions on one side or other of the debate. It’s just an emotional debate for many people."
Ehrenfeld said the station's policy seems arbitrary. The 30-second ad is set to run in Nashville and Memphis stations in the coming weeks.
"It seems they just created this policy out of thin air when presented with this ad," Ehrenfeld told BuzzFeed.
Freedom To Marry is a nonprofit organization that campaigns for the right of same-sex couples to get married in the United States.
"We're one country with one constitution and all Americans should have the freedom to marry," the ad's YouTube description reads.