Dean, Haslam see no boycott after state nullifies Metro anti-gay bias law

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 2:13pm

Gov. Bill Haslam and Mayor Karl Dean, on opposite sides of Nashville’s gay rights issue, both played down the possibility Wednesday of a boycott of Tennessee over what some are calling the sanctioning of bigotry in the state.

A national blogging furor has erupted during the past week over the legislature’s nullification of Nashville’s anti-gay bias ordinance and Haslam’s signing of the bill on Monday. On Facebook and elsewhere, there has been an outpouring of calls for retaliation against the state.

“Time for a gay boycott of Tennessee,” one commenter at The Huffington Post wrote.

Another Huffington Post commenter wrote, “Because the state legislature in Tennessee is the most backward, hateful legislature in the country. They are trying to pass laws to take this state back to the 19th century."

But before a business conference in downtown Nashville Wednesday, where the governor and the mayor appeared, both said they doubt any significant boycott will materialize.

“There’s calls for a lot of things all the time,” Haslam said. “Businesses in this state are known for being open and welcoming, and that’s one of the things we’re working on doing as a state.”

Gay rights supporters won’t stay away from Nashville, Dean said, because the Metro Council is the one that adopted the ordinance in the first place, banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity by companies doing business with the city.

“People will be able to distinguish that Nashville’s council voted in favor of this particular ordinance and I signed it, and the city was in the position to go ahead and enforce it, but we can’t because of the state action. So I wouldn’t think there’d be anything happening in Nashville,” the mayor said. “I would think that people would take the long view and understand that this is a process that’s going to take several years to get done and to be patient right now.”

Asked whether he was disappointed in the governor for signing the bill, Dean said, “I clearly think this was a local issue decided by the local political body and my sense is that’s where this issue should be decided. The state legislature should not have interfered.”

“I spoke to the governor early on about this,” he added. “He knew my position on it, but I didn’t ask him to veto it, no.”

Taking the opposite position from Republican state lawmakers who saw Nashville’s ordinance as an unfair business regulation, Dean said it would have helped Nashville’s economy.

“In terms of business, it would have been a good thing for Nashville because it would have set Nashville off as an open city, which I think helps you bring business to the city when you have a representation for openness and inclusiveness. Companies and dynamic, creative businesses are looking to be in cities like that.”

When Colorado voters repealed gay rights ordinances in Denver, Boulder and Aspen in 1992 — approving a constitutional amendment that later was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court — the state suffered economically from a boycott.

Visitors canceled trips to the Rockies, costing the state millions of dollars in tourism. A TV production company opted for another state to shoot a movie. The Coalition of Labor Union Women canceled a 1,500-member convention in Denver. The Atlanta City Council banned official travel to Colorado, and San Francisco and other cities also took steps.

Chris Sanders of the Tennessee Equality Project said his group doesn’t plan to organize a boycott of this state, and he knows of no one else doing so.

“I don’t know whether one is going to be organized systematically or not,” Sanders told The City Paper. “You see people post on Facebook from other states saying, ‘You know, we ought to block the entrance to the Grand Ole Opry.’ Well, the city of Nashville did the right thing on this. That targeting is misplaced.

“If they’re going to do it, be smart about it. We’re not calling for a boycott of Tennessee. If people want to do that and they can organize it the right way to make an impact that will result in positive change, that’s fine.”

28 Comments on this post:

By: Kosh III on 5/25/11 at 2:34

Boycott Pilot/Flying J

By: govskeptic on 5/25/11 at 4:48

Statements from Huffington Post affects just how many potential visitors
to Tenn that would act on their advice? "Sanctioning of Bigotry" is an
absolute falsehood being described of this piece of legislation and to
the citizens of this state by some just for political & personal persuasion!

By: bartsdad on 5/25/11 at 5:11

This kind of misses the point...why would you not WANT to be a progressive state? What benefit is held in holding back a minority population? Simply to please the religious fanatics...educated citizens with ability to bring business and enterprise to Tennessee take clear notice of this...and those of us living here feel the urge daily to move to an area of the country where they do not wish to slide backwards to the dark ages.

By: Loner on 5/25/11 at 5:19

Gov. Haslam is no intellectual giant; he's a born-again Christian theocrat working a political ministry. This arrogant joker has to go; he's bad for Tennessee and especially bad for Music City.

And Karl Dean is a feckless fool, if he thinks that a boycott of Tennessee will spare Metro Nashville, or somehow benefit it.

Politicians who think like clergymen are more suited to the Middle East, not the USA.

Send these two knuckleheads packing!

If there is a boycott, it won't be just GLBT's doing the boycotting; anyone who advocates for expanding human and civil rights will sympathize with the boycott.

By: pswindle on 5/25/11 at 5:41

Haslam is not the only one that needs to go. How about Beavers, Magggart, Casanda, Johnson just to name a few.

By: Radix on 5/25/11 at 10:46

The "if you don't think like gay people you must hate gay people" thing is so tired. Nashville and Tennessee in general is a laid back and welcoming place, but this legislation was an unnecessary intrusion on businesses. I don't really think we were a gay vacation destination anyway, but knock yourself out on that boycott. If you do decide not to boycott TN, let me know I'll buy you a beer when you're here just to prove that opposing this legislation does not mean I hate you. Meanwhile, carry on with your pompous indignation, and false progressive intellectualism.

By: Caity212 on 5/26/11 at 7:04

I am not sure where I stand on this position. I love Tennessee. The people are so warm and hospitable, the natural beauty of Tennessee is unsurpassed. But being that I am transgender, I am not sure where I stand on this position. I don't think that a boycott makes sense to me, because I am only going to hurt the kind folks who operate the restaurant where I have eaten best fried chicken and soul food of my life. A boycott will only hurt people who through no fault of their own happen to live in a state whose government voted to discriminate. However, I would not purchase a Nissan vehicle, or buy any Whirlpool appliance, since these corporate entities sit on the Chamber of Commerce. Tennessee, I love you, and hope that one day you come to the realization that discrimination exists, and that we need laws to prevent it until the day when it is realized that to engage in it is wrong.

By: bepieper on 5/26/11 at 7:16

I wish they would stop pretending the state bill was about protecting business. It was about advancing a particular social agenda. Whether that's a good social policy or a bad one is another issue. Whichever side of that social issue you might be on, let's acknowledge what this is really about so that we can have a genuine conversation about it.

By: holleracha on 5/26/11 at 7:28

It is a shame that when we elect good people who will make proper business decisions for our government we have to endure there religious baggage. Government needs to step out of the morality business. We have enough problems.

By: Melstruck on 5/26/11 at 8:38

I still don't understand what "burden" the Metro bill causes for businesses. It's not saying that business have to go seek out gay people to hire, it just says that anyone who applies to your company will get a fair opportunity against other candidates. And you will have that as a written policy. How is that a burden?

By: JDG on 5/26/11 at 9:03

One question I have is in regard to enforcement of the ordinance. How would Metro determine if a business was indeed practicing discrimination,and therefore be ineligible to contract with the city? Would a business be required to provide proof that they had "x" number of gays employed in the business? Would anything lower than that number prove discrimination? If so, that sounds a lot like quotas. Or is it just saying that, like the Rooney rule in the NFL, that you must give them equal consideration, but don't necessarily have to hire? If you have to publish documentation that you do not discriminate, then If no one is hired, would that be grounds for a lawsuit against the business? I think there are a lot of potential ramifications that have never been addressed.

By: Melstruck on 5/26/11 at 9:05

Oh, and that's only if you want to do business with Metro. And according to Metro's own report, only approximately 17% of all Metro business (in 2009) is with small or minority owned businesses. It seems like there is alreay some sort of problem that prevents small business from getting a large chunk of Metro's contracts.

By: WickedTribe on 5/26/11 at 9:20

I just hope Karl Dean has the balls to sue over this, because there's no way it can hold up in court after Romer v. Evans, and Dean is really the only person to pursue it since he's the mayor who passed the bill in the first place.

By: Loner on 5/26/11 at 9:25

Tribe, Dean admits that he did not ask Haslam to veto the bill; ergo I do not see Dean going to court over this...his support was late and lukewarm.

By: budlight on 5/26/11 at 9:57

bartsdad on 5/25/11 at 5:11
This kind of misses the point...why would you not WANT to be a progressive state? What benefit is held in holding back a minority population? Simply to please the religious fanatics...educated citizens with ability to bring business and enterprise to Tennessee take clear notice of this...and those of us living here feel the urge daily to move to an area of the country where they do not wish to slide backwards to the dark ages.

Please, bartsdad, act on your feelings "feel the urge daily" and "move to an area of the country where they do not wish to slide backwards to the dark ages". I'm sure that once you are "there" you will find something bad to say about "them".

No city is perfect. No person is perfect.

By: budlight on 5/26/11 at 10:00

Melstruck on 5/26/11 at 9:05
Oh, and that's only if you want to do business with Metro. And according to Metro's own report, only approximately 17% of all Metro business (in 2009) is with small or minority owned businesses. It seems like there is alreay some sort of problem that prevents small business from getting a large chunk of Metro's contracts.

Melstruck, you say there is already some sort of problem that prevents small business from getting a large chunk of Metro's contracts? Maybe if you read that they can't even afford a $95 filing fee to apply for such projects as Omni, then you'd understand they are not equipped financially to be in "big" business. Probably poor money management. $95 is not a lot of money if one is following a good business plan and operating in the black vs the red.

Just being a "minority" does not mean you know how to operate a business successfully.

By: Melstruck on 5/26/11 at 10:14

Bud - I don't think the $95 is the issue - and that's for Omni (a private business), Metro has no such fee. I think the problem is the Metro RFP process - the amount of time required to jump throught all the hoops is a burden for the smaller "mom and pop" businesses (whether or not they are minority owned) that don't have the manpower to dedicate to the process. It's the Council members complaining about the $95 - did they quote one business person complaining about the $95?

By: budlight on 5/26/11 at 12:10

I'm so sorry Melstruck. I'm a small business. I wanted to bid on a State contract. I spent the time to "jump through all the hoops" and I got the 3-year contact.

My manpower dedicated to the process was ME. I filled out the paperwork. I estimated the costs involved and made my bid. I had NEVER before filled out a request for proposal. I have only got a high school education, but I have loads of common sense.

As a woman, I am not a "minority". I am an individual who figured out how to jump through the hoops without it being a burden.

These "mom and pops" who think they need special waivers and attention need to get over it. Spend the time and the money to make the business work. I did and am proud of it.

By: budlight on 5/26/11 at 12:13

By the way, it only took a couple of days for me to get all the information and fill out the RFP. So with 365 days in a year, 2 days is not a lot of time. And $95 is not a lot of money. They are just lazy and expecting something for nothing.

My sister's 5 to 10 million dollar a year company started in 1988. She has dedicated her life and up to 18 hours daily to be successful. She's jumped through hoops and now has her husband, her son and 4 other employees working for her. Her biggest asset? She's not a complainer and knows HOW to work HARD to do what it takes to be successful.

By: pswindle on 5/26/11 at 12:39

Everything that this legislative body has done is for businesses. But, nothing in business has changed. Where are the jobs? Every bill that Haslam has signed protects him or his businesses.

By: Melstruck on 5/26/11 at 1:54

Bud - Ironically, we are on the same side - I don't think anyone should get special treatment. I have worked very hard to get where I am, but I have chosen to do it without applying for government contracts - they simply weren't worth the hassle for me. I prefer going after the private sector. And have done very well with it. I agree that the $95 shouldn't be a burden. My point is that IF there is a problem, it's more the processes than a stupid fee.

By: WickedTribe on 5/26/11 at 4:48

Loner, unfortunately I agree with you. Hopefully the ACLU or someone will step up and do this since it's obvious our mayor doesn't care about the state legislature overriding his constituents.

By: budlight on 5/27/11 at 8:21

ACLU is a bunch of people who are making a fat paycheck to stir up trouble in the court systems. They once defended a big fat man who killed a pregnant woman, here unborn baby and a 3 year old child. He said he was too fat to be executed and they defended him. Was he too fat to kill those innocent people?

By: GUARDIAN on 5/27/11 at 9:02

GUARDIAN-Fleas bite so they can suck more blood from America. Much like the leftist fleas on this site and their queer friends. Gays that don't ask / don't tell and stick to their own business without wanting special rights have a right to the American Dream. BUT those that want more than their share are just blood sucking fleas just like the LEFT.

By: EquinsuOcha on 5/27/11 at 11:05

I wish gays would try to block the entrance to the Opry.......It'd be funny as heck seeing their reamed out butts getting hauled to jail.......

By: yogiman on 5/27/11 at 11:44

budliht,

Please..., quit misspelling ACLDU. It seems too many are dropping that D out of that name. Has all of those typewriters, excuse me, I meant computers lost a key in their keyboards?

GUARDIAN,

Maybe we should change the name of (what used to be) our congress to "Flea Market". After all, they are sucking us dry.

By: yogiman on 5/27/11 at 11:52

Just wondering; by what Constitutional right does our 'governments' have to dictate who a privately owned company can, or can't hire?

Does this episode allow them to tell those companies whom they can, or can't hire as a lawyer? How about whom they can hire as executives, such as "office workers"? Will they soon take over their "right" to determine who can own that company?

I believe that for of government is called communism. We had better memorize that old Boy Scout phase, folks; Be Prepared!

By: yogiman on 5/27/11 at 12:46

A point I read recently about this homosexual situation;

It seems a research was made and found soy milk could, in effect, alter a child's sexual destination as they age. Apparently, through the vitamins and other minerals they absorb into their bodies from the soy milk.

I don't know much about it, but it looks like something that could be looked into if you have children and are feeding them a lot of soy milk.