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.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lemmings and Lawsuits: Debunking the arguments against the Metro NDO

The Tennessean explores how far ahead much of the private sector is on non-discrimination policies compared to Metro Nashville government. Family Action's David Fowler is quoted opposing the ordinance. His first argument sounds like the parent who asks the teenager, "If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you?"

"Just because someone else does something doesn't mean it's right, and we learned that when we all took off from kindergarten," said David Fowler, a former state senator and president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee. "So unless we are going to act like lemmings and just blindly do what everybody else is doing, we need to stop and think before we make this a law."

The Metro non-discrimination is not a lemming move. It is a policy that many people have carefully thought through for years. It has been tested in other cities and the private sector. It is a measured step that will be a real improvement for Metro government employees.

Fowler's other argument is that it would expose the city to lawsuits. One of the TEP district captains asked the general counsel for the Tennessee Board of Regents how many lawsuits based sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination have come forward since they adopted their non-discrimination policy. The answer is zero. The lawsuit myth is used to scare people based on the idea that the city will incur some huge expense. It just doesn't happen. The point of the policy is to prevent discriminatory incidents!

Look for more lies, myths, and scare tactics to emerge before the second reading of the ordinance.

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