NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee lawmaker whose bill would bar the state from following the U.S. Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling says he's undeterred by a projected loss of $8.5 billion in federal funds if the Legislature enacts the measure.

State Rep. Mark Pody said at a rally at the state Capitol on Tuesday that the proposal he has dubbed the "Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act" is worth any cost - and the Lebanon Republican disputed the estimated loss of federal funds.

The proposal is scheduled for its first hearing in a House subcommittee on Wednesday afternoon. Pody urged supporters to contact the five members of the panel to persuade them not to kill the bill.