Gay, transgender advocates must prove 'grievance' by voided non-discrimination ordinance

Monday, January 30, 2012 at 5:18pm

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.”

13 Comments on this post:

By: Nitzche on 1/30/12 at 5:36


By: Loner on 1/31/12 at 6:26

The law itself is a justifiable grievance, isn't it?

By: jonw on 1/31/12 at 8:16


Loner: Not unless the judge says it is.

By: wataboutbob on 1/31/12 at 8:35


By: spooky24 on 1/31/12 at 8:40

If Judge McCoy insist upon actual as apposed to potential than this is fish food. Thinking about assaulting someone is not a crime as thinking about discriminating against someone is not discrimination.
Even I can figure that out-they have no lawyers at Belmont?


By: localboy on 1/31/12 at 8:51

"“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.”" It would seem that there are other rules and policies in place that would allow staff to shut down a bully, regardless of the reason that the bully is picking on another student.

By: NewYorker1 on 2/1/12 at 9:20

I'll be so happy when all the baby boomers and the generation before the baby boomers die off. Their old ways and old mentalities are getting on my nerves. DIE!!!!!

By: JeffF on 2/1/12 at 9:40

Apparently the removal of feeling good about forced public acceptance is not legal grounds for a tort.

I didn't think Davidson had any judges that actually knew the law regarding a damages requirement. It is time that the group supposedly damaged by the state look to another method to gain acceptance by the community. Having a local government force it down their throats turned out to be the wrong path.

Good luck with that public acceptance thing. Hope insulting people who believe differently than you turns them to your way of thinking.

This is going to be a great year in Tennessee.

By: breathofdeath on 2/1/12 at 9:44

I still don't understand how the plaintiffs in this case have legal standing to sue because they are not affected in any way. The law doesn't prevent them from doing anything. The law prevents city and county governments from enacting non-discrimination ordinances so cities and counties, being the ones impacted, should be the ones filing suit.

By: NewYorker1 on 2/1/12 at 10:06

The newer generations are less concerned about what other people do in their homes and bedrooms. We don't care if you're interracially married or same gendered married. It's the older generations that continue to spread their prejudices. We will be better off when these people are gown and not longer passing laws or hold political offices.

By: JeffF on 2/1/12 at 10:51

NY what does all that have to do with this ordinance? What was happening in the homes of people was not part of the law until the Metro ordinance was concocted. There was not a law or laws that gave advantage or disadvantage to anyone for what they do or do not do in their homes. Prejudices were introduced into the law presumably by the younger generations.

I will change my point of view once someone shows me a law or agency rule that makes it a requirement that sexual orientation be a factor in NOT granting public contracts and purchase orders.

Apparently ageism is a protected form of discriminatory speech? Try to remember that the younger Tennessee has gotten the less power the Democratic party has. I don't think it is the old people that are disappointing you, it is the younger people not living in the the little pockets of gentrified Nashville.

This was all no more than an opportunity for Nashville to reward companies with shared economic and political beliefs and to eliminate or forcibly reshape the individuals or companies who do not share those beliefs.

Acceptance cannot be forced by economic and legal means, as Vanderbilt will soon learn. Acceptance is earned by evolution of thought not the revolution of forced actions.

By: PKVol on 2/1/12 at 11:41

NewYorker1 - I am feeling bullied by your attitude. You can't do that as a progressive.

By: wataboutbob on 2/1/12 at 11:51

NY'r believes he/she is speaking on behalf of the younger generations but I assure you he/she is not. The great majority of us do not share the same feelings. He's just one of the loudmouth minorities.