In correspondence with the Tennessee Equality Project, the state's main gay rights group, state Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, claimed gay people commit suicide at a higher rate than others and suggested Jacob's sexuality itself drove him to kill himself. Ragan asked whether the suicide could have had "more to do with his own proclivities and behavior than anything to do with schoolmate bullies ..."
Blaming the victim is necessary to prevent Jacob's death from damaging chances for passage of F.A.C.T.'s 2012 state legislative priority—a bill to make it easier for young bigots to mistreat gay schoolkids. This legislation brought by conservative Christians who oppose special protections for gay people actually gives special protections to homophobic bullies.
"If made into law, FACT would give students a 'license to bully' that allows them to hide their irrational biases behind an extreme religious belief," the Equality Project's Chris Sanders says.