More than 50 local businesses and organizations are supporting the Tennessee Equality Project Nashville Committee’s campaign related to a proposed Metro ordinance that would require businesses contracting with the city to have anti-discrimination policies in place.
Chris Sanders, TEP Nashville Committee chairman, said the list continues to grow, with the Contract Accountability Non-Discrimination Ordinance (CANDO) campaign only four weeks old.
Sanders said the proposed bill, co-sponsored by Councilmen Jamie Hollin and Mike Jameson, is an “incentive,” for businesses that want to do work for Metro.
“It doesn’t force anyone to change a policy,” Sanders said. “It only requires it when you’re contracting with Metro.”
The list of businesses and organizations supporting CANDO include various entities owned and operated by some of Nashville’s most progressive citizens.
Sanders said a conservative cultural agenda is driving opposition to the Hollin-Jameson bill. He points to the recent closed-door meeting of some local conservative business and religious leaders who are opposed to the ordinance.
“The reason for [conservative opposition] is the biblical-cultural stance,” he said.
“The bill itself is young, and we need time to explain what it does and doesn’t do,” Sanders added. “For example, many may not know that there’s a religious exemption in the bill. We are not looking to take away anyone’s religious beliefs.”
Sanders points to various U.S. cities — including Atlanta, Austin, Louisville, Houston and Salt Lake City — and California and Illinois as places in which nondiscrimination policies are effectively in place in the private sector.