Howe letter urges council reps to pass nondiscrimination bill

Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 11:50am

Former Belmont University women’s soccer coach Lisa Howe is urging Metro Council members to approve the legislation her recent job departure helped spur.

In a letter sent Thursday morning, Howe asks council members to support a controversial council bill that would require companies contracting with Metro to adopt nondiscrimination policies that protect gay, lesbian and transgendered workers.

The bill, sponsored by council members Jamie Hollin, Erica Gilmore and Mike Jameson, is up for the council’s second of three votes Feb. 15. Bill sponsors introduced the ordinance following the exit of Howe, who supporters say was dismissed after school officials discovered she planned to have a baby with her same-sex partner.

The proposal the council is set to consider would effectively extend the same non-discrimination policy Metro has for its employees to companies that conduct business with the city.

“Since Metro government has [the] same such policy of non-discrimination for its employees, it makes sense for businesses who make profit or gain from Metro to not discriminate on the basis of religion, race, sex, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military service, sexual orientation, or gender identity,” Howe’s letter reads.

“Obviously, Metro is not putting any new or undue burdens on small or large businesses by having them sign an affidavit, which would now include sexual orientation and gender identity,” she writes. “Other cities who have adopted this policy have not reported increased legal issues, business expenses, or decreased business opportunities.”

In the letter, Howe contends the ordinance is “not a business issue,” but a “people issue.” She writes about the soul-searching she has done and how she will handle explaining matters, including being treated as a “second class citizen,” to her child.

“This is not a message that I want to send in my home to my children. In my opinion, this message is a form of bullying,” she writes. “There is no better time than now to stop the hate.”

Howe goes on to say that her sexual orientation has “zero effect on my job competency.”

“Please join me in sending a positive message of equality to my daughter and use your leadership position to state the truth that not discriminating [equals] good business,” she writes.

In the letter, Howe notes she plans to attend the Feb. 15 council meeting.   

18 Comments on this post:

By: truthtold on 2/4/11 at 6:25

Lev 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

Pretty simple really. Our council will either follow Yahweh or it will be politically correct. It is not possible to do both.

By: Antisocialite on 2/4/11 at 8:46

Lev 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

Are you really quoting Leviticus truthtold? The Old Testament? If you are going to live your life according to the Old Testament I really hope you know what you are getting yourself into...

Lev 7:18 - And if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings be eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be imputed unto him that offereth it: it shall be an abomination, and the soul that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity. (how many peace offerings have you made lately?)

Lev 11:12 - Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you. (hope you don't like shellfish)

Deut 25:13-16 - You shall not have in your bag two kinds of weights, a large and a small. You shall not have in your house two kinds of measures, a large and a small. A full and just weight you shall have, a full and just measure you shall have; that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. For all who do such things, all who act dishonestly, are an abomination to the LORD your God.

Prov 12:22 - Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Prov 16:5 - Every one who is arrogant is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.

Prov 20:23 - Diverse weights are an abomination to the LORD, and false scales are not good.

And if you choose, for whatever reason, to disregard any of these rules... well then, one might say:

Prov 28:9 - If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.

By: Cold Floridian on 2/4/11 at 8:52

If you leave out the religious part of this article, you have an article about making everyone in this city of equal status...
I don't understand why the religious comment was necessary as this is not about church and crutches... this is about humans being treated equally..

Hate is a really hard word to swallow when you're spewing it all the time.
just sayin...........
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Think before you post. You could be displaying your ignorance.....

By: Captain Nemo on 2/4/11 at 9:15

There is not much here for to offer, Anitsocialite and Cold Floridian have said it.

By: Alphadog7 on 2/4/11 at 9:39

Cold Floridian,

You are wrong. This is a choice between two belief systems, and deciding which way society should go on an issue where there is no broad consensus. Are you going to force acceptance of the gay lifestyle on everyone or are you going to allow religious institutions to hire people who share their ideology (which is what most employers do anyway)? Both sides could be equally accused of "hate and intolerance", and those who play that card especially so.

By: Captain Nemo on 2/4/11 at 10:03

When did you choose Alphadog7 ? Just asking.

By: Cold Floridian on 2/4/11 at 10:26

If i'm wrong, perhaps we should get religion in on this one and ask God what he thinks...
hmmmmm?
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Think before you post. You could be displaying your ignorance.....

By: Alphadog7 on 2/4/11 at 10:56

Nemo, WHEN did I choose? What does that have to do with anything?

Floridian, good idea, you do that.

By: Captain Nemo on 2/4/11 at 11:08

Alphadod7 you posted this. Did I misunderstand?

This is a choice between two belief systems, and deciding which way society should go on an issue where there is no broad consensus.

By: Antisocialite on 2/4/11 at 11:10

Alphadog7 said:

This is a choice between two belief systems, and deciding which way society should go on an issue where there is no broad consensus. Are you going to force acceptance of the gay lifestyle on everyone or are you going to allow religious institutions to hire people who share their ideology (which is what most employers do anyway)? Both sides could be equally accused of "hate and intolerance", and those who play that card especially so.

No broad consensus? Are you really suggesting that there is no broad consensus over whether or not American citizens should be discriminated against?

No one is forcing anyone to accept the gay lifestyle... whatever the hell that means. In reality, the legislation requires that anyone who enters into a contract with the Metro government have a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation.

Get it?

If Belmont or any other entity wishes to continue with their bigoted policies they are free to do so... just like the city is free to look elsewhere for their contracts.

By: Alphadog7 on 2/4/11 at 11:38

Antisocialite,

If there were broad consensus would we be having this discussion? If there were broad consensus would ultra liberal California vote to ban gay marriage? There is clearly not a broad consensus in this country about homosexuality. Nor is there broad consensus on whether a private institution should be forced to retain someone because they are gay.

This legislation is aimed at forcing Belmont to change their policies... or, forced acceptance.

And you are correct that Belmont can continue its old policies (which they already changed). The city however, is much different from a private school, it is a government that collects taxes from you and I, and we all have a say about who we want them to do business with.

This is all hypothetical at this point because Belmont did clarify their policy anyway. Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to hire a gay person if they were the right person for the job.

By: Antisocialite on 2/4/11 at 12:12

The city however, is much different from a private school, it is a government that collects taxes from you and I, and we all have a say about who we want them to do business with.

Actually Alphadog7, you have no say whatsoever in whether or not one group's rights can or should be restricted. Imagine if this were an argument about race instead of sexual orientation, would your comment still hold true? If not, I sincerely hope that you reevaluate your stance.

There is clearly not a broad consensus in this country about homosexuality.

Really? So gay people are a myth?

Nor is there broad consensus on whether a private institution should be forced to retain someone because they are gay.

Well I guess it's a good thing that this isn't at all what the legislation does. Go back and re-read my original comment. Businesses that want to discriminate are free to do so... they just can't contract with the city, what is so hard about that concept?

By: Alphadog7 on 2/4/11 at 12:57

Anti-S,

I can barely make sense of your post. Consensus means agreement. People disagree about all aspects of homosexuality. e.g. What causes it, is it 'normal', should it be a protected status, etc. People disagree about it. In other words, there is no broad consensus.

I never said anyone's rights should be restricted. I said that we all have a say in who the City of Nashville does business with.

I have nothing against gay people at all, but to try to prevent business dealings between Belmont and Metro because Belmont does not agree with one segment of the population's point of view is silly and waste of time in my opinion. And lets be real, the legislation is clearly designed to force the Belmonts in the city to change their policies to something more acceptable to the gay community.

By: Antisocialite on 2/4/11 at 2:07

People disagree about all aspects of homosexuality. e.g. What causes it, is it 'normal', should it be a protected status, etc. People disagree about it. In other words, there is no broad consensus.

From Wikipedia:

No simple, single cause for sexual orientation has been conclusively demonstrated, but research suggests that it is by a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences, with biological factors involving a complex interplay of genetic factors and the early uterine environment.

Now I'm not sure about you, but I have a healthy respect for science. I also know that when numerous scientific studies by numerous different scientists seem to all point in one general direction, that direction is usually the right one. Any platitudes about the science not being 'settled' just because some scientist turned religious apologist, preacher, or politician has decided to try and defend his/her own prejudice.

As far as your ,'is it normal' question goes, I have a few questions for you:

Is it normal for a black man to marry a white woman in America? One hundred years ago it wasn't.

Is it normal for a black man to be a free man, and not a slave in America? Two hundred years ago it wasn't.

If you still aren't getting the picture I'm not sure what else I can say.

And lets be real, the legislation is clearly designed to force the Belmonts in the city to change their policies to something more acceptable to the gay community.

By all means, lets be real, but in order to be real you have to concede that this, in no way, will force anyone to change their policy. They are still perfectly free not to accept this policy. They just cannot contract with the city if that is their wish. Your assertion that the city is forcing anyone to do anything is baseless. Period.

By: Alphadog7 on 2/4/11 at 3:21

For one, Wikipedia is for highly subjective and not at all authoritative since anyone can contribute to it. Two, it says "no single cause can be demonstrated" which kinda sounds like 'no broad consensus' to me. Three, you are naive if you denying that there is no debate going on in the US now about those issues. Debate = no broad consensus. Not to mention you pompously dismiss any scientist that disagrees with you as prejudiced. How open-minded of you. Any time you dismiss all the scientists that disagree with you, you are going to agree with 100% of the remaining scientists.

As for the legislation, since Belmont has existing contracts with the city, and Jameson also separately proposed legislation to cancel that contract (which was withdrawn for lack of support), it is clearly an attempt to either have the city boycott Belmont, or alternatively to force Belmont to change their policy (which once again, they did). So to recap, this law forces religious private institutions to either compromise their values or be boycotted by city hall. As a taxpayer in Nashville, I disagree with this move. Why would the city want to boycott a church? That is a slippery slope, and it can't accommodate everyone who has a issue with another group of people, there would be no one left to do business with. Its all political pandering.

By: Antisocialite on 2/4/11 at 4:22

Debate = no broad consensus. Not to mention you pompously dismiss any scientist that disagrees with you as prejudiced. How open-minded of you. Any time you dismiss all the scientists that disagree with you, you are going to agree with 100% of the remaining scientists.

This is 100% false, and to accuse me of being pompous is a nice ad hominem to throw on top of it. By this definition climate change doesn't even have broad consensus, and it has 95% support among scientists in the field. Yet there is a vigorous 'debate' caused mainly by uninformed, unscientific, and worst of all political opinion making it's way into the science. In other words, no, the fact that there is debate has NOTHING to do with consensus. Furthermore, the only reason that I 'dismiss' certain scientists is because they usually don't have peer-reviewed material out there on the subject; not because they disagree with me. They are typically scientists from a field that have, at best, a tangential understanding of the material being studied, and they are often times not bashful about loudly broadcasting the fact that they are Christian or Evangelical... the lady doth protest too much, methinks.

So to recap, this law forces religious private institutions to either compromise their values or be boycotted by city hall. As a taxpayer in Nashville, I disagree with this move. Why would the city want to boycott a church? That is a slippery slope, and it can't accommodate everyone who has a issue with another group of people, there would be no one left to do business with. Its all political pandering.

Where does it say that religious institutions, or any institutions, have a right to contract with the Metro government? Being 'boycotted' is what would happen if a contractor chose to ignore the other parts of Metro's policy, such as the racial discrimination clause, so why then should sexual orientation be any different?

Personally, I can think of every reason in the world to boycott (which, by the way, is not at all what they are doing here) a church; but as far as the city is concerned, I'm pretty sure they would just have to go to the 1st amendment of the United States for a good enough reason.

The slippery slope argument is weak too. Mostly because the way you worded it seems to give credence to my own argument rather than yours. Think carefully about which groups of people have 'issues' here. Gay people just want to be treated like everyone else, the contractors are fighting to continue discriminatory practices against the people they have an 'issue' with.

By: Captain Nemo on 2/4/11 at 5:09

By: Captain Nemo on 2/4/11 at 9:03
When did you choose Alphadog7 ? Just asking.

Alphadog, you must have forgotten.

By: tomba1 on 2/6/11 at 10:39

As stated in the letter paraphrased above, the belmont lady now feels like she's being treated as "a second class citizen" and doesn't know how to deal with her child. Give me a break lady. If you have emotional issues within your life and feel your social class has diminished and you can't deal with it, go get professional help. I dare to speculate that thousands are in your same boat and are looking for new careers. If you don't know how to deal with your child, go get help. Much of this help is available free of charge, compliments of all of us..

Shouldn't your focus be directed toward you and your child and not all this political nonsense and the egos of a few council members who need a little tweak. That is, unless all this publicity, notoriety, attention, and yes, probably ultimately money, ARE YOUR THERAPY !

I'll be at the meeting too. The difference is, unlike the publicity you sought for your attendance, I'll just be one of the concerned citizens who will leave egos at the door as we find our seats in the "second class" section. Where will you be sitting?