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, January 16, 2011

Haslam and Casada: Contrasting philosophies on government, business, and discrimination

According to Tennessee Report, Governor Bill Haslam has issued an executive order about job discrimination directed at companies considering locating in Tennessee:

Executive Order No. 2011-03 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, gender, color, national origin, religion, age, and political affiliation or against otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities. The Commissioner of Economic and Community Development also is directed to inform and instruct all companies considering Tennessee as a business location that the prevailing policy of non-discrimination must be reflected in their employment practices and workforces in Tennessee.

Conflicting Philosophies: We obviously wish that the order included sexual orientation and gender identity, but there's another point here worth noting. The Governor obviously doesn't see his order as a barrier to job creation. What a contrast to another member of his party!

Commenting about Metro's proposed Contract Accountability Non-Discrimination Ordinance that would only require businesses contracting with Metro to change their policies, Rep. Glen Casada told the Tennessean:

"We’re putting so many require­ments on busi­nesses that we’re mak­ing them be the social police of the com­mu­nity,” he said. “That’s not their role.”

It's pretty clear that there's a philosophical difference at work here in the understanding of the relationship of government and business when it comes to discrimination. Let's hope the Haslam model prevails and can be expanded to be even more inclusive.

-Chris Sanders

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