Discrimination | News | Tennessee

Tennessee Senate Votes 21-8 to Approve Bill Prohibiting Local Non-Discrimination Laws

So, earlier I posted some good news out of Tennessee today, and now some bad.

TennesseeThe Tennessee Senate today passed a bill that would prohibit local municipalities from enacting their own non-discrimination statues and would force them to rely on state law.

The new law would "void a Nashville ordinance barring companies that discriminate against gays and lesbians from doing business with the city."

The AP:

"The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet was approved 21-8 on Thursday. The companion bill passed the House 73-24 last month. Lawmakers must now work out differences before the measure goes to the governor for his consideration."

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  1. Whenever social conservatives make any argument saying they don't actually hate gay people or aren't trying to punish and discriminate against people for being gay, things like this are what should be spotlighted, because actually going out of their way to make it LEGAL to discriminate against one group of individuals because of their sexual orientation says it all about these conservatives.

    Posted by: Francis | May 12, 2011 6:34:20 PM

  2. Not even this Supreme Court would find this constitutional.

    Posted by: The Realist | May 12, 2011 6:34:50 PM

  3. The Thugs hate big government, unless they are the big government.

    Posted by: candideinnc | May 12, 2011 6:44:17 PM

  4. The ACLU is probably already all over this. This law doesn't stand a chance in court. Colorado tried doing something similar a while back and SCOTUS shot it down, and it was passed by a statewide referendum, not a legislative decree. Courts are much more likely to overturn legislative missteps than they are people's referendums, and still SCOTUS shot down the vile law in Colorado. Tennessee's doesn't have a chance.

    But it's certainly good to see that Republicans have moved on from the days of legislative gay bashing and being obsessed with "social issues". That is what we keep being told, right? Right Log Cabin and GOProud?

    Posted by: TampaZeke | May 12, 2011 6:51:52 PM

  5. The SCOTUS has basically already found this to be unconstitutional. Does no one remember Romer v. Evans from Colorado?

    "To the contrary, the amendment imposes a special disability upon those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint.

    Its sheer breadth is so discontinuous with the reasons offered for it that the amendment seems inexplicable by anything but animus toward the class that it affects; it lacks a rational relationship to legitimate state interests.

    [Amendment 2] is at once too narrow and too broad. It identifies persons by a single trait and then denies them protection across the board. The resulting disqualification of a class of persons from the right to seek specific protection from the law is unprecedented in our jurisprudence."

    While the TN action is simply a law and not an amendment to the constitution of the state, I would imagine that it will be challenged and it will be struck down as unconstitutional under the Constitution of Tennessee. At least I would assume Tennessee has an equal protection clause in their constitution as almost all other states do.

    Posted by: Robert | May 12, 2011 6:57:47 PM

  6. yes, hopefully the ACLU sill pursue this, but they are currently being overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the republican assault on civil liberties and gay rights currently underway nationwide. We were warned that this would happen and people didn't listen.

    Posted by: Manfred | May 12, 2011 7:01:32 PM

  7. It's always so curious that Republicans are all for smaller government and less intrusive governance except in cases where more government and more invasive governance is clearly "the answer".

    Posted by: Marcus | May 12, 2011 7:03:11 PM

  8. I wonder whether Mae Beavers father was a member of the KKK.

    Posted by: homer | May 12, 2011 7:05:59 PM

  9. Conservative are for limited government. One of their BIG LIES !!! These people just piss me off.

    Posted by: Austin | May 12, 2011 7:11:31 PM

  10. This is stupidly unconstitutional. I'm a law student, here's a copy-paste snippet from my Constitutional Law notes last semester...

    Romer v. Evans (1996)
    - RULE: Homosexuals do not constitute a “suspect class;” therefore, laws burdening homosexuals are subject to “rational review.” However, preventing localities from passing laws barring LGBT discrimination fails rational review.
    o Moral disapproval not a legitimate state interest.
    - Here, Colorado constitutional amendment preventing all levels of govt from enacting legislation prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination, and specifically removes homosexuals from the very long list of groups against whom no discrimination allowed.

    Posted by: Kyle | May 12, 2011 7:38:54 PM

  11. Responding to Robert's post: the 14th Amendment applies all the federally recognized 5th amendment Due Process/Equal Protection Rights to the states. It doesn't matter what TN's constitution says.

    Posted by: Kyle | May 12, 2011 7:41:46 PM

  12. They are very well aware of the issues with Romer. That's why the bill doesn't explicitly mention gay people. It just prohibits ANY kind of non-discrimination laws.

    It should be obvious that it's only targeted at one group though. The legislative record makes that clear.

    Posted by: Steve | May 12, 2011 8:15:23 PM

  13. Legal scholars are offering mixed opinions on whether a challenge based on Romer would be successful in this case. Unlike in CO the TN law does not single out any group of people. The "Equal Access to Intra-state Commerce Act" is being presented as a way to make the state more business friendly by reducing excessive and/or conflicting regulation. It should be noted that a local hate group called the Tennessee Family Action Council has been lobbying heavily for this law and suggested it was needed to keep men from molesting children in public restrooms.

    Tennessee receives a great deal of revenue from tourism and convention business. Maybe a boycott is in order.

    Posted by: Biff | May 12, 2011 8:20:01 PM

  14. I'm glad people remember the CO decision. In all probability, this law will be struck down because there is a constitutional principle that the minimum standards are set on the broadest levels. That is, the more local the law, the more respect it gets from the courts. This in particular would affect the notion of "dry counties" in several southern states, so don't expect this law to last long.

    Posted by: anon | May 12, 2011 8:21:45 PM

  15. This is a disgusting display of hypocrisy by the Republicans. They preach "government closer to the people," then overwhelmingly vote for the state to tell cities what to do. An absolute disgrace by the Tennessee GOP!!

    Posted by: Cyd | May 12, 2011 8:32:53 PM

  16. TN = a fly over state full of red necks , hillbillies and the self anointed ...

    Posted by: MarkBoston | May 12, 2011 9:17:02 PM

  17. Republican Party = gay haters.

    Posted by: Philo | May 12, 2011 9:19:20 PM

  18. Libertarian = liberty : This would be the final reality of libertarian ideology successfully enacted. The libertarians sing the praises of individual liberty but once they effectively remove the federal government restraints their conservative allies at the state level would show their true nature. Conservatives don't want liberty for others, they want the liberty to impose their rigid ideology on others. Libertarian Philosophy is the Conservatives Trojan Horse Strategy.

    Posted by: PLAINTOM | May 12, 2011 9:27:23 PM

  19. FCK YOU BIGOT PARTY you have no morals or conscience

    Posted by: curtis | May 12, 2011 9:28:37 PM

  20. Did you see what Dan Savage posted today about a teacher in TN that's been having sex with her male students?


    Supremacists can hype fear and ignorance against gays all they want while the heteros are accruing a lengthy rap sheet.

    Posted by: patrick | May 12, 2011 9:43:30 PM

  21. How does this not enrage you?? Argh, what are we supposed to do now? Violence isn't supposed to be the answer, but I need a solution to this! Tennessee sucks so much!

    Posted by: X | May 12, 2011 10:55:02 PM

  22. What do you expect from Tenn. Its the bible belt, and no one else is welcome there. So tenn and other states like it will continue to live in the dark ages.

    Posted by: Robert | May 12, 2011 11:15:55 PM

  23. Where are all of the racist comments? I miss those in regard to discussions on American homophobia.

    Posted by: Trish Tushy | May 13, 2011 12:15:41 AM

  24. I left TN in '93 when the Christian Coalition was pushing it's public campaign which said in part that homosexuality is unwelcome - passed by resolutions in places like Knoxville. They are a good people, until their bigotry shows. Not unique to Tennessee or even the South. folks. Even the more liberal states like California and New York have an allotment of yokels that are addicted to lies extracted from the Bible through misinterpretation.

    Remember, they justfied slavery with the same book.

    Posted by: Brokebackvol | May 13, 2011 7:21:43 AM

  25. ...and I feel sorry about ALL those poor people who got wiped out by the Coal Ash last year,and now this year with all the flooding in TN...NOT! I lost all sympathy for places like them. I can Hate just as much as they can....Drown MF'rs

    Posted by: Disgusted Gay American | May 13, 2011 8:29:33 AM

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