Discrimination trial begins for gay ex-Tennessee magistrate

Juvenile Court Judge Robert Philyaw. Photo by Angela Lewis Foster /Times Free Press.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The discrimination trial has begun for an openly gay former Tennessee magistrate who sued in 2015 over her firing.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported Monday that was the first day of trial for 38-year-old Elizabeth Gentzler, who filed the lawsuit against Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw and his administrator, Sam Mairs, seeking $500,000 in damages.

Gentzler testified before U.S. District Court Judge Travis McDonough, saying both men created a hostile work environment before her September 2014 termination.

Gentzler's attorney, Stuart James, says Philyaw didn't believe Gentzler's sexual orientation would reflect well on Republican constituents as he ran for re-election.

The county has denied many of Gentzler's claims in court filings. County Attorney Rheubin Taylor said magistrates and other court employees work at the judge's pleasure in Tennessee.

Copyright Associated Press, all rights reserved.

The Gayly. March 21, 2018. 1:30 p.m. CST.