The Tennessee Senate on Thursday
approved a bill that targets the LGBT community by limiting the
meanings of certain words.
House Bill 1111 (also known as Senate
Bill 1085) would limit “undefined words” to “natural and
“Undefined words shall be given their
natural and ordinary meaning,” the law states. “Without forced
or subtle construction that would limit or extend the meaning of the
language, except when a contrary intention is clearly manifest.”
The Tennessee Equality Project
criticized the bill, calling it a “sneaky” attempt at “LGBT
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert
Slatery, a Republican, echoed their concerns. According to Slatery,
terms such as “husband” and “wife” could limit the state's
recognition of married gay and lesbian couples.
“Statutes that are related to
marriage or to the terms, conditions, benefits, or obligations of
marriage could, in some instances, be in conflict with the holding in
Obergefell if gender-specific words in those statutes were
construed according to the proposed legislation,” Slatery wrote.
GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign
(HRC) are calling on Governor Bill Haslam to veto the bill.