Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has claimed he opposes workplace discrimination the day after signing a bill into law that bars cities and municipalities from enacting gay protection laws.

The measure, signed last Monday, forbids local governments from enacting anti-discrimination ordinances that go beyond state laws, which do not include gay protections.

State lawmakers acted after the city of Nashville approved a plan to require contractors doing business with the city to abide by its 2009 ordinance which bans employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (transgender protections).

Supporters claim the law will make Tennessee an easier place to conduct business.

“The one thing that business must have is consistency to survive and thrive,” Republican Representative Glen Casada, who sponsored the House version of the bill, told The Wall Street Journal.

The day after signing the bill into law, the GOP governor told reporters: “We're not in favor of discrimination in any form at all. We encourage businesses to put that into their policies themselves. We just think that businesses should get to decide for themselves what they have in their policies.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

Gay rights groups are considering challenging the law in court.