State Senate votes to nullify Metro's anti-gay bias ordinance

Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 4:14pm

Disregarding arguments that they are behaving with a “dictator attitude,” state senators voted Thursday to nullify Metro Nashville’s anti-gay bias ordinance and to bar any other Tennessee city from adopting such laws in the future.

The state House adopted the conservative Christian-backed bill on April 25. It now returns to the House for concurrence on a routine amendment, at which point Gov. Bill Haslam is expected to sign it into law.

The bill’s Republican proponents cast it as an attempt to help the economy in Tennessee by prohibiting conflicting regulations in cities across the state.

“When it comes to nondiscrimination practices, we should be consistent across this state,” said Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Brentwood. “When we get into a situation where various counties and various municipalities have different policies with regards to discrimination, I think we start down a very slippery slope.”

Democrats pointed out the Metro ordinance doesn’t ban discrimination by all businesses in Davidson County but only those contracting with the city. It requires those companies to adopt policies agreeing not to discriminate in hiring on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.

“We’re business-friendly. We’ve worked hard to be a business-friendly city,” Sen. Thelma Harper, D-Nashville, said. “When the council passed this, they knew exactly what they were doing. I would ask you to hold up this judgment of [Metro] Council members, who were overwhelmingly elected to take care of Metro Nashville’s business. This impacts Nashville only. I’d really hate to think that those persons who come from everywhere else would take on a dictator attitude toward council members, who have been duly elected to do what they do.”

The Christian conservative Family Action Council of Tennessee put heavy pressure on lawmakers to vote for the state legislation, producing a video that suggested that city ordinances against gay discrimination would open women’s restrooms to child molesters. In the video, a little girl entered a women’s restroom at a public park followed by a sinister looking man.

“Do gender differences matter to you?” the video’s narrator asked. “Is that the kind of Tennessee you want?”

55 Comments on this post:

By: revo-lou on 5/13/11 at 3:59

Pretty powerful few to dictate so much change for so many. Maybe more people came to realize what was right and what was wrong than you give credit for.
Here are some thoughts on why what you hold so dear may be nothing more than… well, than wrong.

By: Ben Dover on 5/13/11 at 4:14

Maybe too few with enough spine to fight the pc crowd or Davidson County has become a mecca of liberal progressives. The state hasn't, though. Looks like the State Constitution was set up with some pretty good checks and balances. Either way, the governor is prepared to sign it into law and then we will let the lawyers carry it through the court system to Washington eventually.

By: revo-lou on 5/13/11 at 4:23

Nothing like wasting money, that we don't have, on something that will not stand.

Speaking of money, where do you spend yours, that you shouldn't?

By: Loner on 5/13/11 at 4:56

Ben sez: "....Davidson County has become a mecca of liberal progressives."

Mecca is full of liberals and progressives? Who knew?

By: Ingleweird on 5/15/11 at 10:16

@Ben Dover:
Cry me a freeking river. Just because you are a taxpayer, it doesn't remotely mean the city is obligated to help your company "recoup" your tax dollars. Furthermore, cities are historically liberal, compared to suburban/rural areas. You are more than happy to profit from the economic viability of a city such as liberal Nashville; you have a lot of gall to complain about where your income comes from. Business is not always fair; Nashville will do just fine without you as a contractor.