Byrne, who was county commission chairman at the time, is now being accused by his opponent of squandering an opportunity for the county to host Olympic events over the commission’s refusal to repeal the resolution.
“It was basically in response to a play (“Lips Together, Teeth Apart”) that was on at (the now-shuttered) Theatre in the Square where there was an open display of a relationship between two gentlemen,” Lee said. “And they (the commissioners) were offended by it, so they passed a resolution condemning that lifestyle. Call it, if you would, ‘family values.’ The Olympics pulled volleyball out of Cobb County — and all that economic impact and all the positive things that could have been happening to tourism — pulled that out of Cobb and made Cobb the laughing stock of the world.”
Byrne shrugged off the charge, telling the Marietta Daily Journal that he fought to keep the resolution from being brought to a vote, but he admitted to voting in favor of the resolution.
In 1994, when asked by the Atlanta Journal Constitution about the controversy surrounding the resolution, Byrne said that the commissioners would not be intimidated into rescinding the resolution.
“There’s no one person or group that could bring or justify enough intimidation, pressure or threats that would convince us to rescind the resolution we adopted last August,” Byrne was quoted as saying at the time.
It was later revealed that Byrne’s daughter was gay and his position at the time on the resolution caused an issue with his family, he told the Marietta Daily Journal:
“What compounded all of this, and this is public information as well, on a personal level I paid one hell of a price because I have a gay daughter, and she was brought into the arena by that community and played against me,” he said.
Top photo: Cobb County Commission incumbent Tim Lee (left) and challenger Bill Byrne (photos via Facebook)