Where the nondiscrimination bill goes from here

Friday, January 21, 2011 at 1:05pm

It could be several weeks before the Metro Council begins deliberation on an ordinance that would require Metro contractors to adopt nondiscrimination policies protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers. 

Councilman Mike Jameson, one of the sponsors of the ordinance, said last week he plans to defer the ordinance for at least one council meeting. Currently, the bill is set to go before the council on the second of three votes in February. A deferral would push the vote back. 

Jameson said he hopes to give two still-noncommittal parties — Mayor Karl Dean and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce — a chance to review the legislation and formulate a position. Both are stakeholders whose opinions could go a long way in determining whether the bill passes or fails. Neither has offered a stance, although Dean has said government should be cautious in over-regulating the private sector.  

In the past, Dean’s critics have called him out for his reluctance to chime in on controversial issues — he stayed out of the fray during debate over the proposed May Town Center mega-development and during the back-and-forth over Metro schools’ recently adopted student assignment plan. 

Jameson said he believes the mayor will express his position sometime prior to the council’s vote on the bill, as he’s done with other legislation. 

“This is a vote that is going to boil down to a razor-thin margin,” Jameson said. “Every voice matters, and I hope to hear from a large number of community leaders, including the mayor.” 

Some observers have wondered whether Dean is waiting to hear the position of the chamber, whose spokeswoman said it’s still studying the ordinance. 

“We don’t have an official chamber position on it,” spokeswoman Stephanie Coleman said last week. “But because the ordinance would impact business, we have been researching the issue and getting feedback from our members about what the potential impact would be. That’s kind of where we are right now.” 

Asked when the chamber may announce a position, Coleman said, “I’m not sure of an exact timeline.” 

2 Comments on this post:

By: spooky24 on 1/21/11 at 2:14

What is amazing about this is that every time an issue like this comes up the gay community and their supporters fail to realize how badly they are being used. Do you really think the councilman, the mayor and the chamber of commerce care anything about gay rights? Their decision will be made based on what is politically favorable for them and their position.
And guess what it will happen again.


By: Loner on 1/22/11 at 12:46

Belmont University fired a lesbian coach who disclosed too much personal information; that is a sad commentary on Belmont University. This proposed legislation is an attempt to exploit that injustice. Emotions are running high.

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions; well-meaning crusaders sometimes enact laws that backfire or are unenforceable.

Here are a few reasonable questions :

How will contractors prove that they do not discriminate against the GBLT community?

Who will judge compliance...gays, straights or trannies?

Will cynical contractors hire a token GBLT, to meet a quota?

Will enforcement be fair, going forward, or at the discretion of the administration in power?

Will there be a potential for increased litigation exposure, as a result of this proposed law?

Has the proposed law been fully vetted by independent legal experts?

Will the People get to vote directly on this, or is this within Metro's exclusive purview?

There's no need to be hasty here...contemplate before you legislate.