Legislature moves quickly to nullify council's newly adopted nondiscrimination ordinance

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 4:54pm

Nashville’s anti-gay bias ordinance was adopted less than 24 hours ago, and already the state legislature is taking steps to nullify it.

Without debate, the House Commerce Subcommittee voted for legislation Wednesday to bar all Tennessee cities from enacting their own policies against gay, lesbian and/or transgender discrimination. The action was taken by voice vote, with no lawmaker offering audible opposition.

That flips the position the same subcommittee took a month ago when it went against another bill in a 7-6 procedural vote. That bill was broader. It would have stopped cities not only from banning gay discrimination, but also from enacting their own policies on minimum wages, health care and family leave.

Since then, the Christian conservative Family Action Council of Tennessee has put heavy pressure on lawmakers who voted no, targeting Rep. Steve McManus, R-Shelby County, in a video. McManus missed Wednesday’s meeting.

The video, which was sent to conservative Christians in McManus’ district, seems to suggest that city ordinances against gay discrimination would open women’s restrooms to child molesters. In the video, a little girl goes into a women’s restroom at a public park followed by a sinister looking man.

“Will this be the future for Shelby County?” the ads asks. “Do gender differences matter to you? They won’t if Memphis or Shelby County mandates ‘gender expression’ policies on private employers. Is that the kind of Tennessee you want?”

Nashville’s new ordinance would extend protections against workplace discrimination to gays, lesbians and transgender people working at businesses contracting with the city government. The Metro Council approved it Tuesday night by a vote of 21-15.

When lawmakers voted against the similar bill a month ago, they said they were against state government telling cities what to do. The Family Action Council’s David Fowler said social conservatives managed to overcome that opposition by narrowing their proposal to the gay issue.

“The broader bill created a lot of confusion as to what all it was doing,” Fowler said. “Anytime you have a bill with three or four moving pieces and parts, it becomes harder for people to understand. So we narrowed it down to one issue. It made it simpler. People understood exactly what it did and what it didn’t do.”

Fowler defended his organization’s video, saying it did not intend to paint gays or transgender people as child molesters. If Nashville’s ordinance were allowed to stand, “you don’t know whether a person’s in [the women’s restroom] lawfully or not in there lawfully.”

“As we become a genderless society,” he added, “that’s the kind of thing that’s happening. As we become more insensitive to gender differences, it becomes easy for real sexual predators to take advantage of that situation in that kind of environment and climate. It’s not any kind of statement that those who are transgender or cross dress are sexual predators. 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 who’s rightfully or not in a restroom.”

The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Glen Casada, R-College Grove, goes to the full House Commerce Committee next week. It has yet to come to a vote in the Senate.

70 Comments on this post:

By: Antisocialite on 4/6/11 at 3:35

From the article:
“As we become a genderless society,” he added, “that’s the kind of thing that’s happening. As we become more insensitive to gender differences, it becomes easy for real sexual predators to take advantage of that situation in that kind of environment and climate. It’s not any kind of statement that those who are transgender or cross dress are sexual predators. 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 who’s rightfully or not in a restroom.”

This is a straw man if I've ever seen one. Please tell me where anyone is trying to pass legislation to this effect... you can't, because the Family Action Council of Tennessee is full of the kind of outright liars that would make up this outlandish scenario out of thin air, and then try to pass it off as a real consequence of this bill. Kinda funny for a 'Christian organization' considering that lying made the Christian top ten list, but having sex with someone of the same gender didn't.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/6/11 at 4:15

I think it is so ridiculously funny how the Tea Party is in favor of the Feds staying out of State business, but it is alright for the State to medal in the affairs of a city. However this is not any news to me, because the Teat Part is full of preposterous sequence of illogical and foolish ideas of how the world has to be.

By: Kosh III on 4/6/11 at 4:57

Who are these bigots and theocrats? Jeff why don't you give the bill # and list who voted? I just visited the House website which doesn't tell either.

Why not report ALL the story?

By: Loner on 4/6/11 at 7:20

The 4G's again...God, Guns, Gays & Guvmint....the Southern Hot Buttons.

Well, we know that Christ hated a ******...that's all He ever talked about, right? That would be the Gospel according to "Rabbi" David Fowler, the non-Jewish enforcer of Ancient Hebrew Religious Law....the same ******-hatin' zealot who is obsessed with Sharia Law becoming the law of the land in America. Fowler is ringing lots of alarm bells and Tennessee's theocrats are in panic mode....now it's mass hysteria.

Is Fowler nuts? He's crazy like a fox...exploiting the fear and hate and makin' a good buck at it too. You gotta respect that, it sure beats working for a living. Christ would certainly appreciate that aspect, we know that He too hated work, right?

I predicted that we had not heard the end of this GLBT nondiscrimination story, I am surprised at how soon my prediction came true. My crystal balls are firing on all 8.

Taking a page out of the Tea Party Playbook; the cities and counties of Tennessee ought to secede from their oppressive, dictatorial state and go with the individual city-state model. If small government is good, then the smaller the better, right?

The independent sovereign city-states could do what the locals damn well please.
Metro should formally secede from the State of Tennessee. If the idea catches on, other cities would follow suit, Jim Crow could make a comeback.

If cities could secede from their state, would they still be part of the union of US states? Would they merit their own star on the US flag and get two Senators etc.? Maybe a wave of micro-secessions is just what this republic needs. Let the stars spangle!

By: Loner on 4/6/11 at 7:31

Holy Sh!t...the NCP's naughty-word auto-filtering device finally kicked in... never saw that before. I now know one of the forbidden words....you other posters will have to guess what the word was. I don't want to be banned.

I was using standard literary license in my 8:20 post...I don't want my license revoked. I got my mind right, Boss.

By: Loner on 4/6/11 at 7:37

Future Headline: Metro lobbies UN for No-fly Zone over greater Nashville

The Nashville rebels are already well-armed....they just need NATO air-cover to keep the fight fair and on the ground. The "responsibility to protect doctrine" could apply here, down the road.

Ludicrous!

By: left on 4/6/11 at 8:17

The city now can save money on the convention center cause they won't have to put two different bathrooms in the facility. I can sit in my stall right next to a woman,a want to be woman, an ex-woman,an ex-man,rapist,child molester.

By: cannoneer2 on 4/6/11 at 8:21

Texas has an approved budget. Mississippi has an approved budget. When will Tennessee have one, in August?

By: Loner on 4/6/11 at 8:25

This article is chuck full of nuggets:

Fowler defended his organization’s video, saying it did not intend to paint gays or transgender people as child molesters.

Commandment # 9: "Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

I think that reasonable people will read Fowler's words and conclude that he is lying about the intent of his specious hate-video. Maybe Fowler has rationalized the lying as being necessary, to meet some noble end. Preachers have a knack for that.

The action was taken by voice vote, with no lawmaker offering audible opposition.

Wow! The Volunteer State, the great state of Tennessee, Davy Crockett's birthplace....is now a Christian Theocracy.....right in the heartland of America.

The motivation and the motivators for the senseless vandalism directed at the Murfreesboro Mosque site are now a little more clear. The perps are being egged on by professional zealots....on a putative mission from God.

Secular democrats of all political persuasions should rise up, put on their coonskin caps and vote these Holy Men-Preacher Politicians out of office, before it is too late.

Holy Wars Suck.

By: Loner on 4/6/11 at 8:37

Cannoneer, even New York state has passed its budget...ahead of the deadline...that's unheard of in the Empire State. Most states are getting serious about fiscal responsibility.

In Tennessee, priorities are different. The agenda here is something like this:

1. Stopping the so-called "gay agenda".
2. Getting Creationism into the public school science curriculum.
3. Keeping Sharia Law out of Tennessee.
4. Defending the Second Amendment.
5. Union busting.
6. Nullifying city and county regulations.

By: cannoneer2 on 4/6/11 at 8:45

Don't forget creating a new currency for Tennessee!!

By: Loner on 4/6/11 at 8:50

Left wrote, "I can sit in my stall right next to a woman, a want to be woman, an ex-woman, an ex-man, rapist, child molester."

And now you can tap-dance, Left.... Larry "Wide Stance" Craig style.

You must be ecstatic....perhaps orgasmic. Control yourself man...or whatever you are....children read these comments.

By: Loner on 4/6/11 at 8:52

Forgot that one, Cannoneer, I'm sure that I missed a few other agenda items; perhaps others can add to the list.

By: Loner on 4/6/11 at 9:02

Here's more, Cannoneer:

Cannabis Eradication is on the list somewhere. Vouchers for Christian Schools must be in there too. Nullification of Obamacare is certainly in the mix. Obstructing a woman's right to choose. Reviving the Death Penalty. Intruding into end-of-life decisions. Stopping Stem-Cell research. Protecting fertilized ovum. Those are all high priority items in TN.

The demands go on and on with these "small government" people.

By: Loner on 4/6/11 at 9:19

For you, Left, enjoy:

http://www.bartcop.com/wide-stance-90207.jpg

By: boognish23 on 4/7/11 at 5:52

Is the video online somewhere?

By: treehugger7 on 4/7/11 at 6:12

What a bunch of gargbage. Sure am glad they are focusing on jobs! Can we trade legislators with Wisconsin? Or better yet, can we lock these yahoos out of the capital!?

By: Moonglow1 on 4/7/11 at 6:28

Moonglow1: who is financing the Family Action Council of TN? It must be the same crackpot corporate interests financing the Tea Party. And every time they don't agree with a decision, they use scare tactics. Unfortunately these tactics work because our legislators are gutless & spineless creatures who only care about themselves. Guns n gays keep them in power. Stop them now. Get recall efforts going like in WI. And get religion out of our gov't. We are already moving into a Taliban like state. Publish the members of the Family Action Council so that if they are business owners we can boycott their business hoping to put them out of business. Fight these theo-nuts using their same dirty tactics.

By: house_of_pain on 4/7/11 at 6:43

Here's their website. These people are nuts.

http://www.factn.org/

By: global_citizen on 4/7/11 at 6:58

"In the video, a little girl goes into a women’s restroom at a public park followed by a sinister looking man."

"“As we become a genderless society,” he added, “that’s the kind of thing that’s happening. As we become more insensitive to gender differences, it becomes easy for real sexual predators to take advantage of that situation..."

We are not becoming a "genderless society". What kind of easily cowed unthinking moron is David Fowler trying to appeal to with this hyperbolic fear-mongering? It really makes you wonder who his audience is.

By: WickedTribe on 4/7/11 at 7:00

Isn't it strange that christians sit around thinking of child molestation all day? Christians are some seriously disgusting people.

By: budlight on 4/7/11 at 7:16

WickedTribe on 4/7/11 at 8:00
Isn't it strange that christians sit around thinking of child molestation all day? Christians are some seriously disgusting people.

I would like to protect Christians as much as you all protect GLBT's. There is so much Christian bashing on this website. What about you people letting up a bit and being more TOLERANT. I mean, if you start being more loving and tolerant, maybe you could teach Christians a thing or two. You spew hate all over the place; call people you don't know names and are so unkind.

God loves everyone and everything He created or else why would he bother to create? Humans are the ones who messed up.

By: Moonglow1 on 4/7/11 at 7:17

Moonglow1: I agree that these people that call themselves "Christian" are disgusting. The problem is the gullibility of so many people. These Christians need to be stopped by voting them out. Christians now represent hate & intolerance. I prefer agnostics. They are much better citizens. Religion as practiced in the U. S. Is a tool for the Tea Party to use & manipulate. The Tea is already targeting pastors to attend free seminars where Palin \ Gingrich & other Theo-nuts discuss things like the evils of gays & the God given right to bear arms. Then the pastors are"Energized" by these free seminars & preach the hateful nonsense they just heard. Remind me again why religions don't pay taxes. They should if they are attending these brain washing free seminars.

By: house_of_pain on 4/7/11 at 7:22

"What about you people letting up a bit and being more TOLERANT."

Tell that to the Family Action Council...

By: WickedTribe on 4/7/11 at 7:24

Also, the state is just wasting their time. Case law has already proven they will lose, via Romer v. Colorado. It went all the way to the Supreme Court who ruled that state government cannot prohibit local government from legally prohibiting discrimination.

So even if they pass it in the short term, it will lose in the courts and very fast.

By: budlight on 4/7/11 at 7:27

Moonglow1 on 4/7/11 at 8:17
Moonglow1: I agree that these people that call themselves "Christian" are disgusting. The problem is the gullibility of so many people. These Christians need to be stopped by voting them out. Christians now represent hate & intolerance.

You label Christians and I bet you are not personally acquainted with any. We are not gullible nor disgusting. Vote us out? What will you replace us with: Peace loving law abiding - WHAT?

By: budlight on 4/7/11 at 7:33

HONOLULU (AP) — One of President Barack Obama's close friends has been arrested in Honolulu on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute.

Robert "Bobby" Titcomb was one of four men arrested in an undercover sting operation late Monday and later released on $500 bail, according to Honolulu police.

Obama jumped all over his professor friend's story in Boston and ridiculed the police. Wonder why he's not weighing in on this guy's story? Guess we'll have to wait to see. He probably is innocent! (until proven guilty).

By: global_citizen on 4/7/11 at 7:43

"You label Christians and I bet you are not personally acquainted with any."

How could anyone live in Nashville and NOT be personally acquainted with any Christians? That would be a logistical impossibility in the city with more Christian churches per capita than any other in the U.S.

By: localboy on 4/7/11 at 7:50

Cap'n Nemo shoots...he SCORES!

By: Radix on 4/7/11 at 7:52

LOL at all the inclusion, diversity and tolerance in the comments. Obviously it's a one way street for some.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/7/11 at 7:57

budlight-

There is no Christian bashing on this site. We only bash the charlatans.

By: pswindle on 4/7/11 at 8:00

TN is becoming the laughing stock of the south. Why would the Legislature want to take aways rights of our citizens? Is this all that they can do? We need a new election.

By: Moonglow1 on 4/7/11 at 8:01

Moonglow1: Haslam just voted to give his Commissioners from between an 11-33 percent raise. He believes in fewer govt workers & paying them more. How Christian!! Give the rank & file state workers a 1 percent raise & his friends 11-33. Who pays--we do!!! Again. My point. These are the Christian right wing Tea & this is what you get: take from the middle class to give to the rich. Reduce govt but not for them. They feed off of it. Vote them out. They are taking our jobs our money & our way of life.

By: zmania on 4/7/11 at 8:04

I don't know what these people call themselves, but they're not Christians. Wanting to discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation is sick. Besides, that part of someonees life is really none of their business.
The people of Tennessee really needs to reconsider who we put in office. I'm talking "recall". The priorities in the state house are. All screwed up.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/7/11 at 8:08

By: budlight on 4/7/11 at 8:33
HONOLULU (AP) — One of President Barack Obama's close friends has been arrested in Honolulu on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute.
Robert "Bobby" Titcomb was one of four men arrested in an undercover sting operation late Monday and later released on $500 bail, according to Honolulu police.
Obama jumped all over his professor friend's story in Boston and ridiculed the police. Wonder why he's not weighing in on this guy's story? Guess we'll have to wait to see. He probably is innocent! (until proven guilty).
*****************************************************************

So much for bud’s Christian loving and caring for people. If Obama was to blow his nose in the privates of his home, she would say he is a nasty.

By: budlight on 4/7/11 at 8:15

I didn't say I don't love Obama; I just pointed out his NOT jumping on this story. After all, he weighed in on the Taylor Swift and that guy who dissed her on tv; he weighed in on the police/professor/boston story. So why not this one? Hmmmmm!

I love everyone, even you Captain. That does not mean I can't disagree with you. That's where Libs fall short. They think if someone disagrees with them, then they are bad.

By: frodo on 4/7/11 at 8:16

My problem with the Metro law is when they extend it to private businesses and organizations that receive funds (like vendors, grantees, consultants, etc.). It is one thing for political forces on the Council to impose a social viewpoint on city employment. But then to reach into the affairs of others...where does that stop? What if the vendors supply goods that are made by a company that makes their employees work on Barney Frank's birthday (I know the Metro law does deify Barney Frank, but like I said, where does this line of reasoning stop)? Then what if the company that makes the goods gets their raw materials from an evil capitalist regime somewhere that is out of favor with our ruling regime? The arm of government tends to reach just as far as it can to control our actions, thoughts and beliefs. And now some in the TN legislature are ready to set a boundary so we do not all have to act like little robots, believing, saying and doing only what we are told.

That some of you go on at length trying to impress each other by crafting the ultimate put-down of Christians tells me you have issues in your life that you need to deal with and get over. This Metro law and the proposed state law are not about religion. It has to do with constitutional freedoms.

By: nashtnman on 4/7/11 at 8:24

"…a little girl goes into a women’s restroom at a public park followed by a sinister looking man."

EXCUSE ME BIGOTS BUT WHERE IS THE PARENT(s)? IF YOU ARE A PARENT AND YOU ALLOW YOUR LITTLE GIRLS TO WONDER IN A PUBLIC PARK YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE A PARENT AND SHOULD HAVE ANY CHILDREN REMOVED FROM YOUR CARE.

Why don't we just take all the responsibility off the parents? Hey, just spit out your children and society will take care of them, that’s what the government has become anyway, a baby sitter for the stupid and irresponsible parent who does not take responsibility for their actions which include children.

There has become no difference between the Muslim views on Christianity and the "Christian" views on GLBT. How dare you. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO JUDGE. God will judge me, and you will not be able to hide from His judgment either. GLBT's make better neighbors than the bigot that thinks he is a Christian because he goes to church every Sunday. You people need to look in the mirror before you open your mouths.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/7/11 at 8:26

It is simple frodo, if a private business does not want to follow the rules the city makes, then that business does not have to so. There is nothing in the bill that says that a private business will cease to be.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/7/11 at 8:27

Then why did you bring it up bud? For some reason you just had to point out what you think is a flaw.

By: frodo on 4/7/11 at 8:44

Yes, Captain, and we don't have to drive on government streets or drink government water or do business with a company that might get a government tax break or send our children to government schools or get cable service from a company that operates under a franchise agreement with Metro (and the list goes on). You can use the "you don't have to ___________ with government" if you want to. But when government has its hand in all of life, as it does these days, then government needs to exercise some restraint on the moral, social and political strings that are tied to life.

By: WickedTribe on 4/7/11 at 8:44

Nemo is right. If a private business wants Metro's tax dollars, then they have to follow Metro's rules. If they are able to stay in business via private clients, then they don't have to follow Metro's rules.

It's really not much different from an individual boycotting a business because he or she doesn't like the way the business operates. Metro has the right to choose which businesses deserve to receive their funds.

By: govskeptic on 4/7/11 at 8:55

Dealing with government of any stripe is like dealing with disaster. You never
know when you will get paid, you never fully understand all the outs they have
in any contract entered into, and you never know when the rules will change!
One thing is certain, they have the resources to wear you out on any agenda
they decide to take legally! Instead of "Buyer beware", it's "Seller Beware".

By: frodo on 4/7/11 at 8:56

Nemo, "Metro has the right to choose which businesses deserve to receive their funds" because (and only because) we elected the Council that made this rule. And the state legislature has rights, too, because we elected them. Like a certain president said when his party ruled Congress, we won and you lost. I'll accept the Metro rule, even if I don't like it. I hope you will accept the state's say, as well.

By: Antisocialite on 4/7/11 at 9:06

WickedTribe said:
Metro has the right to choose which businesses deserve to receive their funds.

This is the crux of the issue. frodo and budlight seem to think that city government doesn't have the right to choose who they contract with.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/7/11 at 9:13

frodo would you be taking this stand if it was a Democrat bill? This is only one more layer to a contract with the city.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/7/11 at 9:14

You got that right Antiso.

By: Antisocialite on 4/7/11 at 9:23

Tennessee Constitution Article XI Section 9:

The General Assembly shall have no power to pass a special, local or private act having the effect of removing the incumbent from any municipal or county office or abridging the term or altering the salary prior to the end of the term for which such public officer was selected, and any act of the General Assembly private or local in form or effect applicable to a particular county or municipality either in its governmental or its proprietary capacity shall be void and of no effect unless the act by its terms either requires the approval by a two-thirds vote of the local legislative body of the municipality or county, or requires approval in an election by a majority of those voting in said election in the municipality or county affected.

Anyone care to explain how they are going to get around this one?

By: iTiSi on 4/7/11 at 9:34

Good job TN legislature, looks like Metro Council has been "hijacked" by the GBPLT crowd anyway. This "liberal bastion" known as Nashville is rapidly becoming Austin, TX.

By: revo-lou on 4/7/11 at 10:25

{budlight on 4/7/11 at 9:15
That does not mean I can't disagree with you. That's where Libs fall short. They think if someone disagrees with them, then they are bad.}

Disagree with, no. Remove freedoms from others, yes.