Burch: Petty potty politics

Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

Kudos to The City Paper and reporter Jeff Woods for reporting that the Tennessee legislature has moved to “quickly nullify” the Metro Council's newly adopted nondiscrimination ordinance. To the best of my knowledge, this has not been reported significantly — if at all — by other Nashville media. So I’m glad we have reporters like Woods to keep us informed — and, hopefully, properly outraged.

As Woods pointed out in his article that ran April 6, “Nashville’s anti-gay bias ordinance was adopted less than 24 hours ago, and already the state legislature is taking steps to nullify it.” According to Woods, this decision was made “without debate” by the House Commerce Subcommittee, which voted “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.”

Then Woods wrote an April 7 follow-up article in which he notes House Speaker Beth Harwell favors the nullification effort.

It seems the Family Action Council of Tennessee, a conservative Christian organization, has been putting “heavy pressure” on lawmakers by using scare tactics such as a video that suggests that not discriminating against gays would enable male child molesters to follow children into women’s restrooms. But how many children enter workplace restrooms? How many young children enter workplace restrooms without their parents accompanying them? Is there any evidence that there is a higher rate of pedophilia among GLBTs than among heterosexuals? If not, why use scare tactics to make a minimal danger seem so ominous?

Not discriminating against GLBTs does raise interesting questions about restrooms. But let’s be honest. I’m 53 and have probably shared many bathrooms with many gay men. Even though I’m not considered repulsive, I have never been conspicuously ogled while “doing my business,” much less molested or raped. So I have to believe that most gay men don’t have plans to “take advantage of me” if we end up sharing the same bathroom.

And of course heterosexual and GLBT athletes have been sharing locker rooms, showers and urinal areas for decades. We all share the same beaches and swimming pools, where we walk around nearly naked and no one worries about whom might be attracted to whom, as long as everyone acts with a reasonable degree of decorum.

Heterosexual men could dress up as women, enter women’s restrooms, and do shameful things. But we don’t discriminate against every male heterosexual because a few are creepy perverts. So there is no reason to discriminate against the many fine, upstanding citizens among our GLBT brothers and sisters, just because a few might be “bad apples.”

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary,” at www.thehypertexts.com.

148 Comments on this post:

By: Mike Burch on 4/8/11 at 1:40

As always, I welcome your comments about my articles. I'll try to stop in from time to time, to join the debate. I hope the day will soon come when we all agree to be kind and tolerant, and consign bigotry to the waste-bin of time, along with child sacrifice, cannibalism and slavery.

Mike Burch

By: house_of_pain on 4/8/11 at 4:16

Another intelligent letter by M. Burch. Spot on.
If the members of religious groups want to influence policy, let them do it as individuals, at the ballot box, like the rest of us.

By: Loner on 4/8/11 at 5:11

Good morning, Nashville!

Another fine missive from Mike Burch. I agree with Mike's observations and conclusion. Tennessee has abandoned the democratic process and is embracing Christian theocracy.

My, what a holy bunch....when Jesus, Son of God & King of the Jews returns, I'm sure he'll come to Tennessee and address the state legislature.

The faith-based politicians were all elected by the people that they represent; so, we can assume that this sort of bigotry is pervasive and widespread across the Volunteer State. No, there has not been a heck of a lot of social progress since the Scopes Monkey Trial, in 1925....things may have actually gotten worse.

The TN Legislature is now fixated on enacting faith-based legislation...meanwhile the rest of the republic is addressing real and substantive issues of the day.

This situation is actually quite humorous....you will reap what you have sown.

By: Loner on 4/8/11 at 5:31

Verrrily, I believe:

I believe that Christ packed heat, was a racist, supported the Jewish State concept, and was and was an advocate for the death penalty, preemptive war, invasion and occupation.

Not only that, Christ hated gays, lesbians and transvestites...dope-smoking hippies too!

Apparently divorce did not bother the dude; but homosexuality drove him nuts.

He condemned the idea of female liberation.

Christ abhorred the scientific method, public education and pluralism.

Jesus Christ was a scab carpenter who despised unions almost as much as He despised working for a living.

Last, but not least, Christ hated "illegals" and eschewed "amnesty programs".

I'm getting my information from David Fowler's Talking Points memo.

By: Loner on 4/8/11 at 5:40

The Christ that David Fowler et al. preach about sounds more like Muhammad...the Prophet and Generalissimo. Fowler's Christianity sounds like the Christian equivalent of Sharia Law. Soon we can expect to hear cries of..."Death to the infidels!"

Holy Wars Suck.

By: dargent7 on 4/8/11 at 5:49

Totally weird article, especially reading it at 6:00am.
As an uninvited house guest, I am shocked by all the "laws" Tenn. attempts to pass and put on the books.
Guns in bars....transgender/ trans sexual/ tranvestitie is ok...
What's next?
The state cannot even allow wine sales in groceries, yet has the time to discuss gay and lesbian issues?
Belmont University, a Christian college dating back to the Civil War, has a lesbian coach "outted" who want's to marry and have a baby, with her partner.
And everyone's shocked that Belmont fired her?
Last time I looked, this state isn't remotely similar to California.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/8/11 at 6:05

Excellent article, Mr. Burch. TGIF, everyone!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/8/11 at 6:07

btw, I saw Donald Trump on the Today show yesterday. His politics are even crazier than his hair.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/8/11 at 6:08

Good morning


By: Captain Nemo on 4/8/11 at 6:08

This is another good letter from Mike Burch and thank you for keeping this subject alive.


First it was the Federal government they said should leave the States to themselves, but I was just a citizen so I said nothing. Then they told the City governments they could not rule themselves and I said nothing. Now they come to my neighborhood and said this is how it will be, but I said nothing. When they told me that I could only do this and not that, I could do nothing, but obey.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/8/11 at 6:09

Hello Blanket!!

By: gdiafante on 4/8/11 at 6:10

As long as the Tennessee good ole boy network keeps getting elected, this state will continue to devolve.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/8/11 at 6:12

Good morning, Nemo! How's it going! Good morning, house, g, Loner, dargent.

By: gdiafante on 4/8/11 at 6:13

Blanket, I don't buy the political Trump...he's a crafty fellow...he's stirring up the birthers, which will further divide the GOP...maybe his motivation is to re-elect Obama.

Then again, it could be PR for his show. Ten guesses who, on this forum, has already bought a Trump bumper sticker...lol

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/8/11 at 6:13

well, a lot of the folks who don't like Karl Dean dislike him for being a "carpetbagger."

By: house_of_pain on 4/8/11 at 6:13

TGIF, Blanket...missed you last Sunday...

By: ladydragyn on 4/8/11 at 6:13

It makes me absolutely insane when our government choses to discriminate against a segment of society, especially while not so subtly suggesting they are protecting us from said 'evil' segment. To suggest that gay, lesbian or transgender people are going to follow our children into a bathroom and do something horrible to them is remarkably offensive, ESPECIALLY since the OVERWHELMING majority of pedophiles and child molesters are heterosexual males. Heck, have we all forgotten how many children have been violated by priests, yet I don't see any ads showing a white collared man following a child into a restroom. I am so sick and tired of GLT folks being treated as if they are the scurge of society when millions of dollars have been paid out to traumatized adults whos lives were forever marred by priests. Of course our government would never put out an ad saying all priests are child molesters, but to even suggest that our children are in danger from the GLT community is equally offensive, so if our legislators are going to try to scare us all into believing that there is some shadowy figure out to get our children in order to cover up their discrimination,then let em at least use factual information to dress up their figure in the proper clothing, and i'm not talking about a guy in drag.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/8/11 at 6:14

i thought about that too, g. he is an excellent media whore. he could just be doing it for ratings.

By: gdiafante on 4/8/11 at 6:14

Yeah, and if you ask them what year it is, they will say 1866...

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/8/11 at 6:14

house, i'm sorry. i had to work a very long day that Saturday and was feeling antisocial and tired. i will try to make it this week! 8~)

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/8/11 at 6:16

nice post, lady! g, they still can't get past the "war of Northern aggression." *sigh* they should at least watch the Burns series and discover how many people in TN actually supported the Union.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/8/11 at 6:16

i realize that asking certain folks to actually READ about it would be too much to ask.

By: house_of_pain on 4/8/11 at 6:16

Anyone voting for The Donald could do us all a favor by scratching out "Trump", and writing in "Duck".

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/8/11 at 6:17

lol! he is an odd bird.

By: gdiafante on 4/8/11 at 6:18

I watched that Blanket. Notice at the end how the soldiers, on both sides, reconciled pretty quickly after the war concluded...and stayed that way until they passed.

Too bad that our current society (especially here in Tennessee) seems to think that the war never ended.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/8/11 at 6:19

btw, if you're into dining out, April 26 will be a fundraiser for Nashville Cares. You can go online and see which local restaurants are participating and how much they will donate that night.

By: ladydragyn on 4/8/11 at 6:19

Thank you Blanket, I really do get my back up about this issue, and I guess it is a good thing I do, considering MIke is my husband and can you imagine the explosive arguments we would have should we disagree about the subject LOL.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/8/11 at 6:20

g, that part was rather enlightening too. many of them would even barter with each other. the folks who complain about the North "taking" everything from them probably were among the poor whites who didn't have a pot to piss in to begin with.

By: gdiafante on 4/8/11 at 6:21

Our first husband and wife team...if my wife ever posted on here...look out...

"Why are you posting here when you could be taking the trash out or mowing the lawn..."

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/8/11 at 6:21

s/h/b "decendants" of poor whites. the poor whites had more in common with the slaves than they did the wealthy plantation owners. that's part of why eastern TN almost broke itself off from the rest of TN prior to the war. they supported the Union.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/8/11 at 6:22

oh, marital bliss.....

By: ladydragyn on 4/8/11 at 6:22

LMAO Gdiafante!!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/8/11 at 6:22

unfortunately, i need to get to work. you guys have a great Friday!

By: house_of_pain on 4/8/11 at 6:23

Blanket, that was a time zone issue...

By: dargent7 on 4/8/11 at 6:23

Personally, I watched Today's interviews w/ The Donald.
I think he'd make a good president. He's tough, egotistical, smart...
They all suck, so then, so what?
Compared to the rest of the field.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/8/11 at 6:23

lady, this is a subject that gets me bent out of shape too. i dispise bigotry.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/8/11 at 6:24

time zone issue? lol!

By: house_of_pain on 4/8/11 at 6:24

My ex can't comment here...I got custody of the internet...

By: ladydragyn on 4/8/11 at 6:24

In any form Blanket, in ANY form!

By: ladydragyn on 4/8/11 at 6:25

OMW house, ya'll are a hoot!

By: Captain Nemo on 4/8/11 at 6:26


I have noticed from past observations that the ones that have argued the most against a subject, have later been founded that they were doing the very thing they disagree with in secret.

By: ladydragyn on 4/8/11 at 6:30

OH yes indeed Nemo, "me thinks thou protest too much", anyone remember the bathroom stall tippy toe tapping senator??

By: gdiafante on 4/8/11 at 6:31

Honestly, I remember as child thinking that by the year 2000 a lot of the bigotry would have been eliminated...ala Star Trek, etc.

Then again, I also thought we'd have flying cars by now...

By: ladydragyn on 4/8/11 at 6:33

Well my fine folks, I am off to start my day, I'll keep checking back to see what everyone has to say.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/8/11 at 6:36

Go ahead and say it house. I know you want too.

By: ladydragyn on 4/8/11 at 6:37

I thought the same thing gdiafante, I grew up in a VERY bigoted family, and I am really sure how I escaped being a raging bigot (I actually think it was by the grace of God), but I seriously thought that by the time I became an adult that we would all be able to live in harmony.....oh to still have a child's view of the world.

By: house_of_pain on 4/8/11 at 6:46

You know it, Nemo.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/8/11 at 7:03

Gene Roddenberry was wrong about the timeline of mankind, being kind. However it is a nice thought.

By: Loner on 4/8/11 at 7:12

Glad to see BN and Ladydragyn at the table here...along with the usual suspects.

The intriguing aspect of this state versus metro nullification issue, to me, is the novel notion that the state government has the power to override local laws when those local laws go beyond the state and/or federal minimum standards for compliance on any given issue.

It was my assumption that local governments must meet or exceed legal requirements...this is the first time that I have seen a case in which the state is demanding minimum compliance and nullifying any local laws that go beyond the minimal state and federal requirements.

The idea of enforcing bare minimums and nullifying anything beyond the minimum is a rather novel one and Metro should vigorously challenge the idea in court...this could go to the USSC, if Metro pursues this.....IMHO.

By: gdiafante on 4/8/11 at 7:14

Yes, he was wrong. According to him, a genetics war broke out in the 1990's and several of the new "superior" beings were put in cryogenic suspension aboard the Botany Bay and sent into deep space.

We still don't have that technology.

Yes, I'm a sci fi dork.