Christian activist questions scope of anti-bullying law

NASHVILLE - Former state lawmaker-turned Christian conservative activist David Fowler is squaring off in a new fight with gay-rights activists, this time over his effort to change Tennessee's anti-bullying law for students.

Fowler, a former Republican state senator from Signal Mountain, is president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee. The group's December newsletter says it wants "to make sure [the law] protects the religious liberty and free speech rights of students who want to express their views on homosexuality."

In an interview, Fowler said, "the purpose is to stop bullying, not create special classes of people who are more important than others."

But leaders of the Tennessee Equality Project, a gay-rights group, charge the legislation "would give students a 'license to bully' that allows them to hide their irrational biases behind an extreme religious belief."