Davidson County Chancellor Carol McCoy is giving advocates for the gay and transgender communities 30 days to show a “justiciable grievance” in order to move forward with their lawsuit against the state.
The LGBT community members, led by former Belmont University soccer coach Lisa Howe, sued in June 2011 after the state legislature passed a law that voided a Metro non-discrimination ordinance.
The city ordinance prohibited Metro from contracting with businesses that discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
McCoy determined in a memorandum and order filed on Jan. 25, however, that there was no “injury beyond potential discrimination, and potential loss of political and litigious opportunities” brought about by House Bill 600 or the “Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act.”
One of the attorneys for the case, Nashville lawyer Abby Rubenfeld, said the judge didn’t respond to some of the main points of contention with HB 600 made by the plaintiffs.
“Particularly, one of our plaintiffs is a student at Metro Schools, and Metro Schools had an anti-bullying policy that included sexual orientation,” Rubenfeld said. “With HB 600, that is thrown out. That seems pretty harmful to me.”
But McCoy ruled otherwise. “There is no suggestion that the LGBT community has been deprived of any legal right, such that its members would be specifically restrained by virtue of their identity,” she wrote. She goes on to call for evidence of a “legal controversy.”
Rubenfeld said she would comply with the order and file more evidence of harm within the next 30 days.
“If she wants more proof of harm, we’ll give her more proof of harm,” Rubenfeld said. “We will fight with everything we have to overturn this shameful and discriminatory law.”