The Metro Nashville Council has
approved on second reading a bill that bans employment discrimination
based on sexual orientation or gender identity by the Metro
government, The Tennessean reported.
Metro Nashville is the governing body
of the City of Nashville and Davidson County. The pair merged in
Councilmembers voted 23 to 16 in favor
of the measure on the bill's second reading, making passage an almost
– but not quite – foregone conclusion. Metro Nashville Mayor
Karl Dean has said he supports the measure.
Against the bill are the usual
suspects, including James Dobson's Focus on the Family.
David Fowler, president of the Family
Action Council of Tennessee, called Councilwoman Megan Barry's
proposal an affront to religious liberties.
Fowler goes so far as to champion
discrimination against gay men and lesbians: “We 'discriminate' all
the time when making a decision, and in some contexts having a
'discriminating' eye or taste can be a positive thing, for example
with artists and stylists and interior decorators.”
“What makes discrimination 'bad' is
determined by the consideration used to draw a distinction between
two or more sets of ideas, types of people, attitudes, and about
anything you can think of,” he says at the group's website.
“[I]n this context, if one is going
to deny or disagree with the proposition that there [is] a
God-ordained distinction between the sexes and a purpose and context
for the expression of sexual intimacy, then in our form of government
the prevailing view in society should not be subjugated to that of
In voting against the measure,
Councilman Jim Hodge compared being gay to an addiction or a bad
“For those constituents and members
of our community who are in the homosexual community, who have sat at
my dining room table, who have had conservations with me, I cannot
support or endorse a lifestyle that is unhealthy,” Hodge told the
“We ask folks to leave their
cigarettes outside. As a guy who's smoked for 20 years, I know how
hard that is to do. But I have to make a choice and it was a hard
choice. It was hard to do. Some of us have been on diets like
Councilman Forkum and me last year so our joints would work. It's
not easy to make a lifestyle change but it can be done.”
The measure, which would only protect
Metro Nashville government workers, faces a final vote on Sept. 1.