The Tennessee Senate on Thursday is
scheduled to vote on a bill that would repeal Nashville's
newly-approved gay protections ordinance.
The measure sponsored by Republican
Senator Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet was approved in the Senate State
and Local Government Committee on Monday. House lawmakers
overwhelmingly approved a companion bill last month.
Nashville narrowly approved last month
a plan to extend the city's gay protections to contractors, joining
more than 100 communities across the nation. The city's 2009 law
bans employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender
identity (transgender protections).
Beavers' measure would strip the state
of all gay protections laws by outlawing municipalities from enacting
anti-discrimination ordinances that go beyond state laws, which do
not include gay protections.
Supporters say equalizing state and
local laws makes Tennessee an easier place to conduct business.
But in a video ad released by the
Christian conservative Family Action Council of Tennessee, a
different pitch is made for the measure.
In the video, a gruff-looking man is
seen following a young girl into a playground restroom as a narrator
asks, “Do gender differences matter to you?” (The video is
embedded in the right panel of this page.)
“It's not any kind of statement that
those who are transgender or cross dress are sexual predators,” the
group's president, David Fowler, said in defending the ad. “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 rightfully or not in a restroom.”