Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, photographed in February 2023. (Photo: John Partipilo)
The lieutenant governor’s office is defending frequent posting by Randy McNally on the racy Instagram pictures of a young gay man over the last three years even though he voted for anti-LGBTQ legislation recently.
The story was initially reported by the Tennessee Holler and followed up by several TV stations.
McNally, 79, often posted on the Instagram of a young man who identifies as gay nicknamed Franklyn Superstar, according to a review of his account.
McNally posted hearts and fire emojis in comments on photos of the nearly nude man and in one such case told the young man, using a nickname, “Finn, you can turn a rainy day into rainbows and sunshine!”
The man has spoken publicly to multiple media outlets.
McNally spokesman Adam Kleinheider confirmed Wednesday the posts are McNally’s and said he plans to keep making the social media posts.
“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. Gov. 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,” Kleinheider said in a statement.
McNally told reporters Thursday he tries to encourage and support many people, adding he has many friends and a family member who are gay. The Lookout asked McNally if he thought it was hypocritical for him to comment on these posts while sponsoring past legislation to ban gay marriage.
“That was before the Supreme Court decision,” McNally said of 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges. “I thought marriage should be between a man and a woman, and I still feel that way.”
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.
– Adam Kleinheider, spokesman for Lt. Gov. Randy McNally
He also pointed to his 2020 abstention vote for a bill that allowed religious adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples as an evolution of his position on gay marriage.
McNally, who is also Senate speaker, recently voted for legislation banning drag shows and other sexually-oriented activities from public property. Gov. Bill Lee signed the legislation into law shortly after the Legislature passed the measure.
He has previous voted for and sponsored several pieces of legislation to ban gay marriage and other bills considered anti-LGTBTQ. For example in 2005, he co-sponsored a constitution amendment to codify in Tennessee law that marriage was between a man and woman.
He also backed legislation outlawing transgender medical treatment for minors as the Legislature approved that bill.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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