Reed: Firing chief over anti-gay book ‘right call’

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Mayor Kasim Reed invoked an anticipated ruling from the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage as one more example of why he made the right call in firing Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran over his anti-gay, misogynist and anti-Semitic book.

“The Supreme Court decision, which I think is going to be very favorable for marriage equality and for eliminating discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals, is going to show that we made the right call not to tolerate that kind of behavior from a member of my senior staff,” Reed said Tuesday during an appearance on WABE's “A Closer Look.”

Reed fired Cochran on Jan. 6 over his book “Who Told You That You Were Naked” that includes anti-gay statements after an internal investigation showed that the fire chief violated city policies. Cochran embraced anti-gay supporters after his firing, played victimcomplained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that he was canned for “my deeply held religious convictions” and then sued the city in federal court. 

That suit, in which Lambda Legal weighed in to support the firing and call Cochran a misogynist for other statements in the book, is pending. 

A war of words broke out after Cochran's firing, with the city calling him a liar and Cochran telling the Southern Baptist Convention last week that he suffered “worldly consequences” over the book. 

Via the AJC:

“I have utmost belief that God is the ultimate vindicator and is going to come through on my behalf,” Cochran said. “My back is not up against the wall. I am not at the end of my rope, and throwing in the towel is not an option for a child of God who suffers.”

He said he believes his “public humiliation” is serving the higher purpose to change the public conversation and show people the need to speak the truth and the consequences for doing so.

“There are worldly consequences for standing for Christ and for standing for truth,” Cochran said. “But there are also kingdom consequences in standing for truth, and the kingdom consequences are always greater than the worldly consequences.”

Reed said Tuesday that the city will “prevail in court.”

“I have expressed that throughout the entire process. I certainly believe that I made the right call,” Reed said. “And so I'm clearly willing to litigate that and you know, I'm not losing any sleep about it at all.”

On June 18, Reed appointed Joel Baker as the department's new chief. Baker has served as interim chief since Cochran's firing.

Listen to Reed's full interview with WABE.

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