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, January 3, 2011

"I don't mean to impose..." Contract Accountability Non-Discrimination Ordinance as carrot, not stick

Some people have the jitters about the proposed Contract Accountability Non-Discrimination Ordinance coming before Nashville's Metro Council on January 18 for first reading. The bill would require future vendors doing business with Metro Government to update their non-discrimination policies to include sexual orientation and gender identity to match Metro's own policy for its employees.

Maybe it's all the Tea Party rhetoric in the air or something because a few people seem to be laboring under the assumption that this bill is an effort to IMPOSE something on the private sector. But if we are to speak truthfully about the bill, there is no imposition.


It's simple. No one is required to apply to be a vendor for Metro Government.

It's simple. Metro already has some existing contract standards for vendors. Are those impositions?

It's simple. Specifically Metro requires its vendors to agree to a "covenant of nondiscrimination" related to existing categories protected by federal, state, and local law.

Adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the contract requirements amounts to a carrot, not a stick, to induce (or "incentivize" to use an awful word) companies who want to do business with Metro to make their work places more inclusive. That's all.

You might even call it one of those "market forces." Metro has a demand for something and certain businesses will choose to try to supply it and some won't. Everyone's free!

Incentive, not imposition. That's all we're talking about here. So don't let people opposed to the bill steal the message and IMPOSE their meaning on the debate.

If you want to support the CAN DO campaign to pass the bill, contact us at .

-Chris Sanders

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