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: GUARDIAN on 4/7/11 at 10:26

GUARDIAN-Well the State of Tennessee has fixed things so the leftist socialist can't change Nashville into another San Fransucko. I think it's great. Can I hear a whine from the left please. :) Now about the love some people have for Baroot, Barry or whatever his name is. LOL Lots of groups like him. The qays like him because he is one of them. The terrorist muslims like him because he is one of them. The socialist, marxist, communist, progressives, liberals and America haters like him because he is one of them. The right likes him because he has about destroyed the democrat party. The blacks like him because he is black but I think they are finding out he is black in color only as well as his heart. I like him because he is everything I said he would be and he has devalued the race card to NOTHING. Have a great day and let the whining begin. :)

By: frodo on 4/7/11 at 10:41

Capt says: "frodo would you be taking this stand if it was a Democrat bill?"

Which stand is that, Capt? My stand that we must abide by the decision of the lawmakers until the next election? Or that free people should remain so?

By: Antisocialite on 4/7/11 at 10:42

As usual GUARDIAN and iTiSi are making their blatantly bigoted views known to anyone who bothers to read the garbage that they pass off as comments.

You guys are doing a great job ducking the issue, care to weigh in on the excerpt of the Tennessee Constitution that I posted?

By: frodo on 4/7/11 at 10:46

About the TN constitution quote...you may have a good point there...perhaps the constitution prevents the state from abridging the power of the city in this case. The newly found respect some here suddenly have for constitutional law is refreshing. I hope the constitutional enthusiasm spills over to the actions of the president and the last Congress.

By: budlight on 4/7/11 at 11:03

By: Captain Nemo on 4/7/11 at 9:27
Then why did you bring it up bud? For some reason you just had to point out what you think is a flaw.

Is that a crime? or a sin? Bringing up a point is called dialogue.

Revo, what do you mean? Libs remove freedoms by their obsessive law making?

By: Captain Nemo on 4/7/11 at 11:09

Austin and San Francisco are great cities and both are progressive cities.

Now the GUARDIAN has the little man syndrome. He has to make his print in large print, because it is afraid that no one would look at archaic concept.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/7/11 at 11:15

bud, the crime/sin is that no matter how small an incident be, you have try to it bigger than it is.

By: revo-lou on 4/7/11 at 12:32

{budlight on 4/7/11 at 12:03

Revo, what do you mean? Libs remove freedoms by their obsessive law making?}

That is right bud, you are on top of it. All laws passed by "libs" PREVENT someone from doing things!, Yeah, thanks for paying attention to what is happening around you.

By: frodo on 4/7/11 at 12:42

Nemo: "Austin and San Francisco are great cities and both are progressive cities." Yeah, I don't like those cities, either. Er...oh! You meant that as a compliment to those cities. To each his own.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/7/11 at 12:42

rev, the secret is out? I wish people would let me know these things ahead of time. ;-(

By: Captain Nemo on 4/7/11 at 12:46

Yes I know frodo, you think Joelton is the greatest place on earth.

By: GUARDIAN on 4/7/11 at 12:50

GUARDIAN-Whining from the left is such a sweet sound. It reminds me of Al Gore whimpering in that cold wind blowing through Cartage on election night when he couldn't carry his home state. Private onyourkneesmo as a cockroach you can stand on so tall. I'm sure your whines will get louder and louder over the next two years. I'll be sure to have ear plugs by November 2012. I know that you and your comrades will fill the air with cries of racism and bigotry. The fat lady is already singing for you, baroot or barry or whatever his name is and your kind. Have a great day. : )

By: Captain Nemo on 4/7/11 at 12:57

I will have to say guardian that the only whining I have heard today is coming from you

By: revo-lou on 4/7/11 at 1:05

{Captain Nemo on 4/7/11 at 1:42
rev, the secret is out? I wish people would let me know these things ahead of time.}

It is mind boggling how letting MORE people have opportunities, how reducing discrimination of every kind, and how saying all are welcome is REMOVING FREEDOMS from someone. Only a truly closed mind, insecure, scared person can be like that. Unfortunately, we seem to have a whole state full of them.

By: Antisocialite on 4/7/11 at 1:41

Private onyourkneesmo?

Oh wow! Get it guys?!? Does everyone get it?!? It's so brilliant! You see GUARDIAN is both demoting Captain Nemo and calling him a homosexual by replacing the Nemo with onyourkneesmo... you know like he is on his knees to perform fellatio. Such a rapier wit, I guess we had better go home guys he just won the thread!

Oh wait, even with this juvenile insult GUARDIAN can't escape how much of a complete moron he/she is. Midshipman or ensign would have been a better choice since they are naval ranks, but I guess you didn't know that. But wait, you may say, a captain can also be a rank in the army, and while this is true it only accentuates what an extremely uncultivated buffoon you are that you couldn't pick up on the Jules Verne reference... not much of a reader are you GUARDIAN.

Sorry for anyone else who is reading this, but every once in a while I like to unload on these fools to see what other moronic stuff I can make them say :)

By: revo-lou on 4/7/11 at 2:19

Well put Anti, well put.

By: WickedTribe on 4/7/11 at 3:19


So it not only defies Supreme Court case law, but also the state constitution? This is awesome. Only Republicans could be behind such an epic waste of time. Now imagine how much of our tax dollars they will spend on this being defeated in court.

By: frodo on 4/7/11 at 4:21

Auntiesocial, I thought Nemo was on his knees praying.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/7/11 at 5:27

Antiso guarding is showing his phallic envy.

frodo that is not how I pray.

By: publicsquare on 4/18/11 at 5:21

Article XI, Section 9 doesn't apply because the legislation does not apply to a "particular county or municipality" but is a worded generally to apply to any county or municipality. And Romer probably doesn't apply as the article notes because the proposed law does not target any group but says that no city can pass an ordinance that varies from the state's definition of "discriminatory practice." And unlike Romer, any group wanting protection can go to the state an advocate for it. Thought the uninformed would want to know.