Memphis, TN Approves LGBT Workplace Protections in 9-4 Vote


The Memphis City Council voted 9-4 to add sexual orientation and gender identity to a list of city workplace protections, the Memphis Flyer reports:

Councilman Reid Hedgepeth, a conservative who voted in favor of the ordinance last time, told the audience that harassment and robo-calls from the amendment's opposition had only strengthened his resolve to vote in favor of the amendment again.

"One e-mail said 'I hope you and your family burn in hell together.' How is that for Christianity?" Hedgepeth asked.

Additionally, councilwoman Janis Fullilove proposed an amendment to the ordinance that added protections on the basis of "gender identity." That amendment passed 9 to 4, as well. The only "no" votes on the "gender identity" amendment and the main motion to amend the city's nondiscrimination ordinance came from council people Wanda Halbert, Bill Boyd, Kemp Conrad, and Joe Brown.

The council chambers were lively before the vote. Speaking for the opposition, a representative from the Family Action Council said the amendment's passage would lead to protections for "grown men attracted to 12-year-old boys." That elicited boos and gasps from the audience. Pastor Larry Hunter, who wore a Taekwondo uniform, said he didn't "want to walk nowhere and see two mens [sic] kissing or two mens [sic] hugging."


  1. Justin says

    TN did pass a state law stating that local governments couldn’t pass non-discrimination ordinances that went farther than the state’s after Nashville passed a similar measure a couple years ago. Im sure the Memphis one will end up in court.

  2. Jonathan Cole says

    Local governments in Tennessee may still enact legislation which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity for their employees. The HB600/SB632 law which passed in 2011 prohibits local governments from extending those employment protections to private employers. The ENDOs of Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis cannot be challenged via HB600/SB632 with regard to the employees of those respective local governments.

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