The Tennessee Legislature is moving
against Nashville's newly-approved gay protections ordinance.
On Tuesday, the governing body of the
City of Nashville and Davidson County, which merged in 1963, narrowly
approved a plan to extend the city's gay protections to contractors,
joining more than 100 communities across the nation.
The 2009 law bans employment
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
The fight to outlaw Nashville and other
municipalities from enacting such laws was taking shape before the
city council acted.
On Wednesday, less than 24 hours after
Nashville adopted its ordinance, the House Commerce Subcommittee
unanimously voted in favor of a bill that would strip the state of
all gay protections laws.
The subcommittee had previously opposed
House bill 600, which would ban cities from enacting their own
policies on minimum wages, health care, family leave and
The bill approved on Wednesday narrowed
its focus to banning gay protections policies.
“The broader bill created a lot of
confusion as to what all it was doing,” David Fowler, president of
the Christian conservative Family
Action Council of Tennessee, told
Nashville alternative weekly the Nashville City Paper.
“Anytime you have a bill with three or four moving pieces and
parts, it becomes harder for people to understand. So we narrowed it
down to one issue.”
In a video in support of the
legislation produced by the group, a gruff-looking man is seen
following a young girl into a playground restroom.
“Do gender differences matter to you?
They won't if Memphis or Shelby County mandates 'gender expression'
policies on private employers. Is that the kind of Tennessee you
want?” the video states. (The video is embedded in the right panel
of this page.)
Fowler defended the ad, saying the law
would make it “easy for real sexual predators to take advantage of
“It's not any kind of statement that
those who are transgender or cross dress are sexual predators,” he
added. “It's that sexual predators will know how to take advantage
of those opportunities afforded by law when the distinctions begin to
get blurred with respect [to] who's righfully or not in a restroom.”
The bill, sponsored by Republican
Representative Glen Casada, now heads to the House Commerce