Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Mayor helping get out the vote on English Only

You can find his email here.

I am strongly against these charter amendments and I want you to join me in voting against English Only and Amendment No. 2.

While I do not question the intentions of the proponents of this initiative, I feel a responsibility as mayor to explain the implications such a radical change in our law could have for our city.

First, let me explain what the English Only amendment is not. It is not a vote on immigration reform and it is not a harmless message to office holders. The proposed charter amendment will have absolutely no effect upon efforts to curtail illegal immigration or to reform current national policy. Rather than permitting voters to send a message to the government, the referendum alters our charter in a way that will create legal, political, social and even moral consequences for years to come.

To me, it is the antithesis of hospitality and an unnecessary drain on taxpayer resources. The issue is divisive and will distract us from doing those things that will help us realize our potential as not just a great American city, but a great international city.


Anonymous said...

Why is this an issue that TEP is involved in? It is not a gay issue - an issue relevant to the lives of homosexuals because they are homosexual. The quote attributed to you in Out & About cited three reasons this is relevant. None of them explained why this is a gay issue. First, you said it could disrupt services to non-English speaking gays. By that logic, any issue is a gay issue - taxes, the environment, energy, etc. Everything can affect everyone, but not because they are gay. Second, you cited the need to send a signal that Nashville is a welcoming city. It might signal that Nashville is welcoming to non-English speakers, but it says nothing to gays in general. Nashville has already spoken to gays through a 70% vote in support of the marriage amendment. Finally, and most disturbingly, you pointed to a need to make allies. Allies are a good thing. But, making allies at the cost of diluting your own mission is foolhardy. To make allies through weighing in on non-gay issues requires TEP to choose sides in fights not relevant to it. And that leads to additional enemies. TEP is in danger of becoming just another pressure group. If TEP continues this kind of mission creep, it will receive no further support from me.

For the record, the English Only amendment is ridiculous. I will vote against it. But, it has nothing to do with me being gay.

Chris Sanders said...

I'm glad you're voting against it. It is a related issue, especially if you're gay and English is not your first language. Furthermore, the tone of welcome that our city sets does affect us. If this measure passes or passes by a wide margin, our rights could be next in Nashville. As you pointed out, it has already happened statewide. Third, one of the lessons learned from Prop 8 is that white GLBTs didn't reach out enough to minority communities. We're building some bridges that will help us with allies in government and in the community that we'll need for the nondiscrimination ordinance. It actually is functioning as a movement building experience rather than diluting us. If you look at the number of members of the community who were at the polls yesterday and the number who are involved in the Facebook groups on this issue, you'll see it has touched a nerve because we know what it's like to be at the wrong end of a ballot initiative.