Nondiscrimination ordinance moves forward

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 10:32pm
Council member Megan Barry is the primary sponsor of a bill aimed at eliminating discrimination based on sexual orientation.

An update to Metro’s nondiscrimination ordinance, which would make discrimination against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity unlawful, passed first reading at Tuesday’s Council meeting.

The ordinance was pulled off the consent agenda by District 33 Councilman Robert Duvall, who said there was “absolutely no reason for this bill.” It still passed first reading with a 24-9 vote.

At-large Councilwoman Megan Barry, the primary sponsor, said there are lingering misconceptions about what the bill does, and doesn’t do. Barry asked that the bill go through the committee process so it could be properly vetted.

Duvall said the Civil Rights Act of 1964 already protected all Americans, and therefore adding sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes was unnecessary.

District 22 Councilman Eric Crafton said he had questions he wanted answered, including what the definition of “sexual orientation” would be as defined by the ordinance.

Crafton also wanted statistics for the number of discrimination complaints registered with the Metro Human Relations Commission over the last three years. The Human Relations Commission Executive Director Kelvin Jones told The City Paper on Monday that there have been eight registered complaints of sexual orientation discrimination in the last four years.

Proponents of the bill, such as at-large Councilman Ronnie Steine, say there have been few complaints because there was no recourse available for the Human Relations Commission to offer. Although the commission could record allegations of sexual orientation discrimination, it could not take any other action. Gender identity complaints could not even be recorded.

Barry’s legislation, co-sponsored by nine other Council members, would make employment and workplace discrimination against Metro workers on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation unlawful.

A similar effort was pursued by Council in 2003, but it ultimately failed. The new ordinance already has the support of Mayor Karl Dean.


In favor: Buddy Baker, Megan Barry, Erik Cole, Sam Coleman, Tim Garrett, Erica Gilmore, Frank Harrison, Jason Holleman, Walter Hunt, Mike Jameson, Darren Jernigan, Kristine LaLonde, Edith Langster, Lonnell Matthews Jr., Jerry Maynard, Sean McGuire, Bo Mitchell, Sandra Moore, Anna Page, Ronnie Steine, Bruce Stanley, Carter Todd, Parker Toler and Charlie Tygard.

Opposed: Carl Burch, Michael Craddock, Eric Crafton, Duane Dominy, Robert Duvall, Jim Forkum, Jim Gotto, Jim Hodge and Rip Ryman.

Abstaining: Karen Bennett, Randy Foster, Pam Murray and Vivian Wilhoite.


8 Comments on this post:

By: wolfmanjess on 7/22/09 at 7:46

Great now Crafton does not even understand the definition of gender identity.

By: girliegirl on 7/22/09 at 9:11

Crafton understands that if a car is burning, and the physically impaired driver weighs 300 + pounds, as was being aired all over national TV this week, it will take at least 2 burly MEN to DRAG that person from the burning van. Notice I did not say 2 women who are size 4 and weigh a combined weight of 225 pounds...COMBINED weight! LMAO That poor soul would be a piece of burnt toast had I been the rescue worker, who by terms in this new bill, would be hired first because I'm a girl! Yeehaw! Hey, I'm just sayin' ......

By: girliegirl on 7/22/09 at 9:14

My point is: sometimes discrimination is a good thing...not very often, but "sometimes" and it exists for a healthy reason. If you're a stripper, and you're working for the mayor's office as a receptionist, but hey, no one knows're setting yourself up to be blackmailed, most likely. Does anyone see a conflict headed down the tracks? We had a similar situation years ago, in an office downtown, involving politcos...and yes, the person was let go. Sorry, but moral conduct is just that. Moral. :-)

By: girliegirl on 7/22/09 at 9:25

Politicos... I meant....

By: localboy on 7/22/09 at 9:34

The laws already on the books should be sufficient - more smoke and mirrors

By: wolfmanjess on 7/22/09 at 9:38

Well girliegirl right now someone could be blackmailed because they are gay, this law would eliminate that threat. Also what the heck does being a girl firefighter have to do with anything? There are physical requirements for the job if you can pass them as a male or female you can have the job if not you cant.

Finally what is your point about moral conduct, are saying we should discriminate against gays because of your own moral views? Or are you saying we should discriminate against strippers who are also secretaries?

By: wolfmanjess on 7/22/09 at 9:40

localboy which laws are those?

By: wolfmanjess on 7/22/09 at 12:35

I bet Crafton will go solicit a bunch of money from out of state people who want to decide how we should run Nashville again. What did he have two in state donors last time? By the way I am assuming what this article and Craftless are tiptoeing around is that it will protect transgendered people as well. So what people we live in the 20th century get over it.