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 23, 2011

Trouble for Rep. Casada's anti-anti-discrimination bill?

As first reported here at Grand Divisions, Rep. Glen Casada plans to file legislation that would prevent municipalities like Metro Nashville from extending their non-discrimination policies to businesses with which they contract. As of today, the legislation still hasn't been filed, even though the Representative indicated that it would be. So he's late, but I'm sure it's coming soon.

This bill has problems.

Not popular: Williamson A.M. letter writers don't seem to like it. OK, one letter writer liked it, but the rest clearly didn't. The writers either thought the state shouldn't be interfering in a local matter or that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people should have job protections like everyone else.

Here's what Suzanne Clement of Franklin had to say:

Rep. Casada's attempt to prevent cities from enacting non-discrimination ordinances leaves a bad taste in my mouth on a variety of levels. Equality of rights and protections applies to all citizens, period, whether they are on the "official list" or not.

Casada's meddling with how municipalities do business is over-stepping. It is within the scope of the city governments' functioning bodies to determine what conditions apply to city contracts.

Worse, whether it is the intent or not, this measure appears to be an attempt to deny homosexual business people the right to equal consideration in doing businesss with cities.

I think he should step back on this one.

Smell Test: At a time when our Legislature is saber rattling about federal meddling in the states, it just seems odd to be considering state prohibitions on local government.

Interference with Contracts: I'm no lawyer, but doesn't it strike you as odd that with this bill the state government is trying to get between two parties in a contract? Isn't it typical for parties to set conditions for a contract? Why isn't Metro's proposed extension of its non-discrimination policy looked upon as just another condition that one party desires to set up in the contract that two parties freely enter into? If a business doesn't like the proposed condition, then it doesn't have to bid. This ought to be pretty easy.

Fun Fact of the Day: Rep. Casada's employer has inclusive workplace protections that cover sexual orientation and gender identity. According to his website, he has worked for Schering Plough for 23 years. Schering Plough gets a high score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index. Yes, that's right; Rep. Casada most likely has openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender coworkers.

Note on that whole Williamson County vs Nashville thing: It just looks bad when a Williamson County state legislator and another Williamson County resident (David Fowler of Family Action Council) are the leaders in the effort to stop a Metro Nashville ordinance. It doesn't help appearances that Family Action is holding its Nashville "Truth Project" Worldview Training Seminar event in Williamson County. No doubt, one of the big topics at the seminar will be how to work against the Metro ordinance. I just shake my head sometimes at these things.

-Chris Sanders

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