Tea Party group urges defeat of ‘insidious’ nondiscrimination bill

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 7:08pm

Leaders of a state Tea Party group are telling followers to voice opposition to a Metro ordinance that would require companies contracting with the city to adopt employment protections for gay, lesbian and transgendered people.

The bill, sponsored by council members Erica Gilmore, Jamie Hollin and Mike Jameson, would extend Metro government’s nondiscrimination policy, which covers sexual orientation and gender identity, to companies that do business with the city. The council is set to consider the bill on the second of three votes Feb. 15. 

In an email sent to supporters, organizers of the Springfield-based Tennessee Tea Party say that they were alerted by the Family Action Council of Tennessee to “sound the rally cry to stop this insidious ordinance.” The Family Action Council, a conservative Christian group led by former Hamilton County state Sen. David Fowler, has been working behind the scenes to defeat the bill. 

“This is something that should concern us all even if we do not live in Metro Nashville,” the Tennessee Tea Party email reads. “All too often what happens in this council will have great ramifications across the state. This ordinance will [a]ffect all business owners who wish to contract or do business with Metro Nashville. This is not strictly an anti-gay issue.

“This is simply big government politicians and social scientists imposing oppressive regulations on business owners that will only open the door to harassment lawsuits,” the email goes on to say. “Nobody in these issues wins except for the trial lawyers. The costs of all this mess is then passed on to us as consumers and taxpayers.”

Jameson, who represents parts of East Nashville on the council, said the Tennessee Tea Party is just “repeating the same misinformation” that other opponents have suggested.

“There’s a statement that it imposes ‘oppressive regulations’ when all [the ordinance] does is add four words to a requirement we’ve upheld for decades,” Jameson said. “And by alleging that nobody in these issues wins except for trial lawyers, it perpetuates the false impression that litigation results from these ordinances. And as best as we can tell from other cities that have already adopted it, it flat out doesn’t.

“If they’ve got something accurate to submit and if they want to talk to me, I’m happy to have that discussion,” Jameson added. 

The Tea Party email continues by urging followers to attend the council’s Feb. 15 meeting to demonstrate their disapproval of the bill. The letter includes the email addresses of Metro council members, asking Davidson County residents to contact them and request they vote against the ordinance.

Meanwhile, bill sponsors say they are still waiting word from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Karl Dean for their stances on the bill.

32 Comments on this post:

By: AmyLiorate on 2/9/11 at 6:53

It'd be nice if the "leaders" of the TP group were named and more about where they're from. Is it Tami Kilmarx and her husband who fancies a theocracy of his own style?

I just don't get those types, they're not Tea Party leaders, they're just neo-cons. Not promoting liberty, but spouting hate in the name of Christianity. WWJD?

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” ~Gandhi

By: tim4wsp on 2/9/11 at 7:25

This is a Christian country. Why, so is hell. Inasmuch as "Strait is the way and narrow is the gate, and few-few-are they that enter in thereat" has had the natural effect of making hell the only really prominent Christian community in any of the worlds; but we don't brag of this and certainly it is not proper to brag and boast that America is a Christian country when we all know that certainly five-sixths of our population could not enter in at the narrow gate.
- Mark Twain in Eruption

If Christ were here there is one thing he would not be--a Christian.
- Mark Twain's Notebook

By: Bellecat on 2/9/11 at 7:46

This bill would discriminate against Christians and others who do not believe in the homosexual, etc agenda.

By: Chris Sanders on 2/9/11 at 7:54

This bill stops taxpayer dollars from being used in a discriminatory context.

It doesn't discriminate against Christians or anyone else. There is a exemption from the bill for religious organizations. 4 congregations in Nashville support the bill. Furthermore, no one is required to apply to be a Metro vendor. So there is no discrimination.

It's hard to see how the Tea Party can justify their position because they are trying to say two parties of a contract can't set conditions for doing business--something Metro government already does.

By: AmyLiorate on 2/9/11 at 9:46

Metro should just have a don't ask don't tell policy. Akin to the way Justice is blind.

As long as contracts are awarded and the work is done correctly no one cares if there is a homosexual around or not. Metro collects money from all citizens and businesses, it shouldn't use it's authority to impose policy on those private entities.

By: govskeptic on 2/10/11 at 5:32

This story is only written to undermind conservative thinkers.
It really has no basis nor real facts or names for anything
else. Slamming the Tea Party is the only expected payoff!

By: Teeb on 2/10/11 at 6:43

First, make contractors contractually obligated not to discriminate against homosexuals,

Next, require Metro contractors to have an affirmative action program or quota system to hire homosexuals.

Finally, forget about awarding contracts to the lowest bidder - give vendors who bid on Metro contracts extra points for being homosexual-owned or transgendered-owned similar to what is currently done with women-owned or minority-owned businesses.

Why start down that path?

By: morpheus120 on 2/10/11 at 7:17

More anti-American nonsense from David Fascist and the Tennessee Taliban.

By: mickeyw on 2/10/11 at 7:24

IF the tea parties band together, then they become another party just like any other and will eventually become corrupt. Make no mistake, if they become viable, they will be taken over by the ‘insiders’. And/or they will eventually become either a Monolithic or Parliamentary organization. If they become Monolithic, then who ever becomes the boss (or bosses) may alienate the rest of the ‘party’. If they become Parliamentary, then they will become a democracy and may alienate 49% of the ‘party’. Also, IF they retain their autonomy, then their power is disbursed and the 'powers' that be will not worry about them (and will want them to continue to exist because separately they are ineffective).

By: HokeyPokey on 2/10/11 at 7:43

skeptic, I'm not so sure you can "undermind" conservatives without heaving lifting equipment. Their minds are 'bout at rock-bottom now.


By: jonescry on 2/10/11 at 7:53

What about the" Christian" conservative "agenda". Why doesn't anyone ever speak about this whatever "agenda" means in this context. I think this agenda should be explained. because how is treating all people with respect and without judgment as the Gospels require somehow not Christian? If your particular religion requires prejudice you need to sharply question the validity of your church and faith. Finally, this is a Davidson Country decision, Springfield citizens should concentrate on their own government in Robertson County. I hope that conservatives in Davidson County understand that there are better issues to focus on which would bring about needed change - like balancing all budgets and everywhere. Focusing on this issue of hate will only diminish their ability to do real good.

By: FCMullins on 2/10/11 at 8:28

It is my belief that there is only one reason not to hire someone or to fire someone.
"They can't do the job".
Any other reason is wrong and should not be tolerated.

By: Loner on 2/10/11 at 8:33

David Fowler's FACT group may be posing as a Christian tax-exempt ministry, it's time to bring the IRS into this. These NCP articles are good starting points for an investigation of FACT's tax status.

Fowler's Activist Christian Theocrats (FACT) are on a Godly mission to save us from the "gay agenda". That's the "good reason" for their actions.. The "real reasons" are far less noble and hardly virtuous.

The GLBT community does have an agenda, they want to be able to exercise their civil liberties and human rights without fear of reprisal from bigots and bigot enablers.

That's an agenda that every American should support, IMO.

By: NewYorker1 on 2/10/11 at 8:35

The Tea Party is also the KKK. Remember that people.

By: Loner on 2/10/11 at 8:37

...and New Yorker 1 is looking stunning this morning.....yes?

By: global_citizen on 2/10/11 at 8:42

Well if anyone had any illusions that the Tea Party was an actual new political party, rather than a far-right wing of the Republican Party, this should put that to rest. When the anti-gay Family Action Council of Tennessee considers the Tea Party to be an ideological ally and calls the Tea Party for support, what does that tell you?

“This is simply big government politicians and social scientists imposing oppressive regulations on business owners that will only open the door to harassment lawsuits,” the email goes on to say. “Nobody in these issues wins except for the trial lawyers"

Is anyone fooled by this sophistry? The Family Action Council's opposition has nothing to do with concerns over business regulations or lawsuits. It has everything to do with trying to hold the line on the culture war and stall the day that government officially recognizes that gay people have civil rights that the government has standing to protect.

By: Loner on 2/10/11 at 8:49

Uh oh, acronym war.....which is it? Family Action Council of Tennessee - or - Fowler's Activist Christian Theocrats

Let the people decide.

By: NewYorker1 on 2/10/11 at 8:56

Loner, thank you Boo. I love you too and all my other fans.

By: pswindle on 2/10/11 at 9:52

Keep talking Tea Party, all doubt has been removed about being total fools. Are there no gays in the Tea Party? Don't kid yourself.

By: gdiafante on 2/10/11 at 10:00

The frustrating part is how people are eating it up, pswindle.

The dumbing down of America? You betcha!

By: AmyLiorate on 2/10/11 at 10:12

Yeah, I checked on the "tea party" group mentioned and it is Tami Kilmarx.

She may use the name tea party, but she is more likely a nail in the coffin for the effort.

Neocons are a big part of the problem, not the solution. This is why general labels like Liberal or Conservative are bad. If we continue thinking there are only two buckets for politics then we only make the problem worse.

I'd tend to call myself conservative, but people like the Kilmarx's call themselves conservative. I'll just remain "independent" and not align with the tea party groups as long as they're represented by people with no logic or true believe in freedom.

By: AmyLiorate on 2/10/11 at 10:13

shb belief

By: gdiafante on 2/10/11 at 11:03

I tend to call myself an American.

But I've been called terrorist (did not support Iraq War from the beginning), Socialist (I think that people shouldn't lose their accumulated wealth because of an illness), Conservative (I think that if you can't pay for something, you shouldn't buy it), bleeding heart liberal (I think that we should try not to destroy the environment or our planet), Titans fan (that one really stings), and jerk (my middle finger is spring-loaded so don't cut me off in traffic).

I think that people don't "walk the line" as far as a party goes anymore, so no one is completely Conservative or Liberal or whatever. Citing labels is just a way to divide and magnify our differences.

By: nash615 on 2/10/11 at 11:29

How is it that the Onion is always so topical?


I can always count on the CityPaper and Tennessean comment threads to remind me that I'm surrounded by ignorant reactionaries who get all their positions from talking heads broadcasting a platform on cable television and talk radio. Way to have an original thought! Yay Nashville.

By: TN4th on 2/10/11 at 1:55

I support the non-discrimination bill for two simple reasons.

First, every citizen of this good country deserves a fair shot at a job. We are all equal under the law. That's the way we roll here in America. The opposition to this bill is motivated by their own warped backward intention to impose their primitive sexual mores on the rest of us. Note that they don't even speak for all christians, much less all the rest of us who do not subscribe to their particular brand of narrow-minded hatred. Their desire to dictate their beliefs over the principles of our democracy is nothing short of religious oppression, and it's anti-American.

Second, I am pro-business, and the number one way to discourage businesses from bringing jobs to Tennessee is to make us look like a bunch of hateful backwoods bigots.

By: Captain Nemo on 2/10/11 at 2:37

Why is group of people from Roberson County telling lawmaker in Davidson County how to conduct busness? Would this seem people not be outrage if we came there and tell their lawmaker how to manage Springfeild?

I don’t like the way Coopertown is managed, maybe we could send a group to show them how it should be done.

By: Kosh III on 2/10/11 at 5:33

Why do Christians have special rights? They CHOSE their lifestyle, why are they give more protection from discrimination than other citizens?

Fire someone because you /disapprove/hate/disagree with their innate sexual orientation: the gay person is general SOL unless they can afford $400hr lawyers.
Fire someone because you don't want Christians working for you: the ACLU and Pat Robertson and a horde of lawyers descend......

By: Alphadog7 on 2/10/11 at 8:45

Funny, Nashville has no problem collecting taxes from those with traditional Christian beliefs, but a small segment of people want to prevent them from hiring companies (or entering agreements with Universities) that have traditional Christian beliefs. That is endorsing one set of beliefs at the expense of another. AKA discrimination. Its anti-Christian, and therefore bigoted and hypocritical.

I would never hesitate to hire a gay person myself, but the city has no business twisting arms.

By: Alphadog7 on 2/10/11 at 8:50

We should probably make sure that Vegan restaurants hire butchers while we're at it.

If the city doesn't want to do business with those with traditional Christian beliefs, then maybe those people should be exempt from paying taxes too.

By: GUARDIAN on 2/10/11 at 10:41

GUARDIAN-San Francisco has this same ordinance. You can't start a business there without agreeing to it. Does Nashville want to be another San Francisco and turn the city over to the funny people. I don't think so.

By: jasonweaver on 2/11/11 at 10:03

Guess we should get rid of racial and discrimination laws, too. Then we'd be consistent and discriminate against everyone.

By: trtay2004 on 2/12/11 at 7:25

I pray for th se people that claim to be Christian and create such hate. God will judge them and it won't be nice. Christ loved everyone, the prostitute, the poor, everyone. In fact the only time I recall reading in the Bible when Christ became enraged was in the church. He began destroying it because of their hypocritical actions. Some things never change.