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.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A step forward for Shelby County and Tennessee

A substitute resolution by Commissioner Sidney Chism passed the Shelby County Commission by a vote of 9 to 4 in place of the ordinance introduced by Commissioner Steve Mulroy Since it is a resolution, it does not require the three readings that an ordinance does. The measure is a compromise from the original ordinance which sought to prohibit discrimination in County government employment, discrimination by those contracting with the County, and discrimination in businesses in unincorporated parts of the County. The resolution forbids discrimination based on non-merit factors in County employment. During the proceedings today, specific factors were read into the record to establish legislation intent. Sexual orientation and gender identity were included.

It remains to be seen how forceful the resolution is, though it does have the force of law once it is signed. It does, at least, highlight a principle that will make Shelby County government a more welcoming employer for the GLBT community. It also gives the County EEO a way of investigating complaints. We'll just have to see how firmly the County will stand behind the language when the complaints come, but we're pleased with the vote.

You can follow all the tweets here. Commercial Appeal story here.


kyleinportland said...

This is a shame. Any piece of legislation that does not explicitly list sexual orientation and gender identity as a protected class is weak! Unfortunately, as is the case anywhere else in the South, the only way we will ever be protected from discrimination is through federal laws. I just hope Congress passes these bills very soon!

H.G. Stovall said...

Thanks to the hard work of TEP's Memphis/Shelby County Committee!!!