Metro presses state to overturn nullification of city's nondiscrimination law

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 3:23pm

In a long-shot effort, Mayor Karl Dean and Metro Council members are pressing the Republican-dominated state legislature to overturn last year’s nullification of Metro’s nondiscrimination law that protected gay, lesbian and transgender workers.

Council members Anthony Davis, Buddy Baker and Fabian Bedne attended a Tuesday morning Senate State and Local Government Subcommittee meeting to support a Sen. Jim Kyle (D-Memphis) sponsored bill that would overhaul the so-called “Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act.”

Kyle’s proposal, which the subcommittee agreed Tuesday to roll one week, would effectively restore a Metro law that required companies that contract with Metro to include sexual orientation and gender identity in its nondiscrimination policies. If approved, other local governments could adopt similar policies.

Metro passed its ordinance last April, but state Republican lawmakers quickly approved legislation that nullified the local law, an effort supported by Gov. Bill Haslam.

“Just as we expect the United States government to respect our judgment, we should respect theirs,” Kyle said.

“We don’t need to be getting into procurement,” Kyle said of the state’s role. “There’s not a good reason to do it. If there’s not a good reason to do it, we shouldn’t be taking it away from local governments.”

Davis, an east Nashville councilman who wasn’t on the council when Metro adopted the nondiscrimination law, handed subcommittee members a March 9 letter signed by Dean, which outlines Metro’s support for Kyle’s bill. In the letter, Dean said Metro’s nondiscrimination ordinance “was an important expression of the fact that Nashville is an open, welcoming place that does not tolerate discrimination.”

Dean said he was “proud to sign it into law.”

“A number of cities throughout our country have passed local ordinances similar to Nashville’s,” Dean wrote. “Such ordinances represent the decisions of local elected government bodies, and I believe they deserve the respect of the state legislature. Now is not the time to abandon our belief in local government.”

Kyle’s bill will face a tough road to passage when it goes back before the subcommittee next week. During 25 minutes of discussion Tuesday, Republicans expressed several concerns.

Sen. Mike Faulk (R-Church Hill) echoed last year’s purported justification for overriding Metro’s nondiscrimination in the first place: to avoid having different procurement regulations in different municipalities across Tennessee.

“I ended up voting for it,” Faulk said of last year’s bill, “based on my understanding of a need for a uniform policy across the state.”

Metro’s nondiscrimination bill, which applied only to third-party vendors, included an exemption for religious institutions.

Nonetheless, conservative Sen. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) suggested approving Kyle’s proposal could force religious institutions into adopting nondiscrimination polices that run counter to their beliefs.

“Possibly, there may be other, let’s just say religious organizations, that do not fall by those standards,” Campfield said.

Davis, the councilman, testified before the subcommittee and explained the city’s support for Metro’s now-nullified nondiscrimination law.

“While some people suggested that our local ordinance would drive business away, the Metro government saw the ordinance as a way of opening the doors wider to the best possible workforce,” Davis said.

“Discrimination is a constraint on labor markets, and that is an important consideration to today’s highly mobile workers who view discrimination as a barrier, not to mention a great injustice,” he said.

DeanLettertoSenateState&Local.pdf245.96 KB

10 Comments on this post:

By: Jughead on 3/13/12 at 2:36

I am so sick of Karl Dean and his liberal views. THERE ALREADY ARE LAWS ON THE BOOKS, DEANTARD.

I will never vote for Dean again...never. What a mistake--he clearly does not represent my views.

By: Jughead on 3/13/12 at 2:42

Nashville Metro Council is filled with liberal "progressives." That means they hate Christians, want to tax and regulate everything, and want to reward bums for being non-productive. I thought Dean was different--he is not not. Dean has plenty of wifey money, and does not have to worry about Joe Sixpack's job being run out of town due to over-regulation.

By: WickedTribe on 3/13/12 at 4:25

I'd take Karl Dean over Jughead any day

By: pswindle on 3/13/12 at 4:32

Jughead, you are not the only one with views. What do you mean liberals hate christians?. What church are you going to? Are you married if so, I bet he or she is afraid to open their mouth.

By: Kosh III on 3/14/12 at 6:17

"I ended up voting for it,” Faulk said of last year’s bill, “based on my understanding of a need for a uniform policy across the state.”

Then how about a uniform policy for buying and selling beer, wine and spirits? No more "dry counties" "wet counties" can't buy before noon on Sunday etc etc

Lying hatful hypocrites.

btw, it was LIBERAL Christians who supported Dr King and equality; not conservatives either secular or religious. Why do you think they call it SOUTHERN Baptist?

By: Jughead on 3/14/12 at 7:29

It's the liberals who support blatant fascism and socialism---religion is to be eradicated per a liberal agenda.

Sound familiar? If not, Wiki Marx, Stalin, Mussolini, or Hitler. That is where liberal democrats get their playbook.

By: Jughead on 3/14/12 at 7:31

Liberal judges, legislators, and "activists" will do ANYTHING to eradicate Christianity and support Islam.

Anything. The hatred of Christianity among liberals is frightening and absolutely sick. The 1st Amendment means nothing to liberals--unless it supports Islam.

And, the radical muslims know it.

By: jvh2b on 3/14/12 at 1:46

Well time to go invest in aluminum foil after Jughaeds rants...I bet he stockpiles the hats...
Dean is on his second term there genius...won't be able to vote for him again AND I highly doubt Dean wants your crazy #(* vote anyways.

Good for you Dean -- you are representing everyone that elected you...all those crazy liberals in Nashville. The last bastion of sanity in this state.

By: NilsOrion on 3/15/12 at 5:10

This whole issue of Christians being attacked is very confusing to me. So tell me. If I have a point of view that offends someone and that person claims to be a Christian, then am I somehow a bad person because a person with such beliefs is Holy and, therefore, beyond reproach? Oh, wait! I thought that was how Muslims behaved.

By: trtay2004 on 3/16/12 at 8:10

Religious organizations have no voice in this issue. They are exempt from paying TAXES. These TAXES are what are used to hire these other businesses for work to be done that is paid for by TAX payers money.

Oh, and I am a Christian. Not a hypocrite, but a person with the understanding and love of GOD, not the church. If you read the Bible, you will see the only time Christ got in a rage was not because of the prostitutes or sinners, it was when he went to the CHURCH and saw their hypocritsy and evil doings and began to beat and destroy as many things as he saw in the church.