Chamber, mayor still mum on bias bill aimed at contractors

Monday, January 17, 2011 at 10:05pm

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce still hasn’t formed an official stance on a pending Metro Council proposal that would require companies contracting with Metro to adopt nondiscrimination policies that cover sexual orientation and gender identity.

“We don’t have an official chamber position on it,” chamber spokeswoman Stephanie Coleman said Monday. “But because the ordinance would impact business, we have been researching the issue and getting feedback from our members about what the potential impact would be. That’s kind of where we are right now.”

Asked when the chamber may announce a position, Coleman said, “I’m not sure of an exact timeline.”

The introduction of the bill, sponsored by East Nashville council members Jamie Hollin and Mike Jameson, came after the controversial December dismissal of Belmont University women’s soccer coach Lisa Howe, who left the school after revealing to her team that she and her same-sex partner are expecting a baby. The ordinance, which would require third-party vendors that do business with the city government to adopt Metro’s nondiscrimination protections, passed on the first of three council votes on Tuesday.

Jim Gotto, who currently serves as both council member and Republican state representative representing the Donelson area, has warned either he or another council member may pull the bill individually on Tuesday to force a rare first-reading vote on the bill.

He has said the bill could have a “chilling effect” on business in Davidson County.

To the casual observer, Gotto’s warning may not seem terribly threatening. However, typically all council ordinances clear first reading unanimously without debate as a way to direct legislation into the council’s committee system. Pulling the bill separately, as Gotto has suggested, would make council members have to immediately cast a yea or nay vote on the hot-button issue.

Besides the chamber, Mayor Karl Dean also hasn’t announced his position on the ordinance.

The City Paper could not reach Dean for comment on Monday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. But in a December interview, the mayor expressed hesitance about supporting a bill that, in his words, could lead to the over-regulation of business. At the time of the interview, sponsors still hadn’t formally filed the ordinance.

“I’m not saying I wouldn’t consider something,” Dean said in December. “You have to look at everything. But my natural sense is that we should not be over-regulating the private sector.”

12 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 1/18/11 at 7:56

Mayor Dean-Chamber of Commerce, they are one in the same,
so expect a joint statement!

By: Nitzche on 1/18/11 at 9:59

i think jamie hollin travels the hershey highway?

By: tnbroker1 on 1/18/11 at 10:07

Why in hell would ANYONE with common sense support a lifestyle of choice that suffers 25% to 50% GREATER infections of AIDS/HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis, cancer and other diseases than the greater population at large according to the Centers for Disease Control? We use to quarantine infected people to prevent the population at large from getting infected with disease, and it worked well. WE do not and kids to school with measles, mumps, chicken pox or other sicknesses, and you want to support a lifestyle that causes sickness and spreads disease? Do you realize the practitioner of that lifestyle has on average 125 different sex partners annually? The city is treading on thin- very thin- ice. It is insane to support a lifestyle that causes death, excess unnecessary illnesses, that experiences higher levels of mental illness and more than the general population. It will cause a rise in health care costs (are they not already high enough) and much confusion all in the name of being "politically correct". Has not being politically correct cost taxpayers enough???

End this madness!! I for one will have no interest in doing business with the city nor support city projects if this is passed. Shame on the city mayor and council if you push this on the business community and pass this crap in to local law..Mayor Dean you are supposed to be an educated man. Act it. Be a leader and reject this proposed law.

Besides anytime a government entity meddles in private enterprise the majority suffer and at times the businesses affected have closed. Is that what you want? This is unnecessary and unwanted regulation.. Get real.

By: xhexx on 1/18/11 at 10:13

Queers ruin everything.

By: GUARDIAN on 1/18/11 at 11:43

GUARDIAN-AMEN!!!!!!

By: left on 1/18/11 at 12:04

GOD loves the person,hates the sin!

By: trtay2004 on 1/18/11 at 12:16

YOU people are why this bill is important. Gays generally have more disposable income. Keeping them so they can't be fired for being gay will not hurt businesses. Why do we require businesses to have Workers Compensation insurance or be bonded or anything else then??? Because it keeps them legitimate.

SCREW ALL YOU HATERS!!!

By: budlight on 1/18/11 at 4:10

"YOU" people. Sounds like you are profiling, trtay. Everyone who disagrees with you is not a hater. Why do you call their difference of opinion, or "diversity" hate? I can love people that don't agree with me.

Can you?

By: Loner on 1/19/11 at 4:53

Those businesses who exploit undocumented workers and/or discriminate on the basis of gender orientation, race, creed or national origin should be chilled, Mr. Gotto.

Contracting with bigots, homophobes and scofflaws legitimizes their unfair hiring practices and rewards them for their sleaziness. Those Metro politicians who oppose screening out the offending vendors probably have a vested interest in maintaining the flawed status quo. I smell a rat....follow the money.

By: delltechkid on 1/19/11 at 9:16

tnbroker - do you have a source for your statistics?

I'm gay and I've been with the same person for 8 years and I suffer from none of the diseases you've listed. Profiling?

By: GUARDIAN on 1/19/11 at 11:57

GUARDIAN- Nashville can be just like San Francisco. If you aren't pro-gay there you can't do business or be in business. Just think, maybe Nancy Pelosi will even move here. Isn't that wonderful.

By: gohomenow on 1/22/11 at 4:12

Big Brother has no business telling anybody how to run their business !