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.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

TEP celebrates the retreat of the "Special Access to Discriminate" Act

LGBT-inclusive workplace protections
may still expand in Tennessee.
Tennessee Equality Project celebrates today’s action in the House Subcommittee on Commerce. The “Special Access to Discriminate” Act (HB0598) was taken off notice today for lack of support among members of the subcommittee.

For the moment, this withdrawal means that state government will not be intruding in the contractual affairs of local government in Tennessee. Cities, counties and school boards rightfully remain free to define what is best for their communities in expanding workplace equality, living wages and other employee benefits without BIG government interference from the state.

TEP applauds the coordinated efforts of equality, labor, and municipal government advocates who helped bring about this bill’s retreat. However, we are not our of the woods yet. Bill sponsor Glen Casada told The Tennessean that 
he plans to put the bill back on notice in about two weeks and will use the interim to lobby opponents (he named Cordova lawmakers Steve McManus and Dennis Roach, specifically) to vote for the bill.
While today's withdrawal is a joyous event, we must be vigilant in making sure that this bill does not return while the 107th General Assembly is in session. We must also support the CAN DO ordinance headed for final reading by the Nashville Metro Council on Tuesday, April 5

Celebrate the withdrawal of this bill by making a contribution to Tennessee Equality Project so that we may continue to advance and protect the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in our state. Consider that

  • $25 prints 100 brochures/membership forms
  • $50 allows us to reach over 120 voters with a mailing
  • $100 trains 10 volunteers for lobbying their elected officials on GLBT issues
  • $250 creates 100 folders for advocates at Advancing Equality on the Hill each year
  • $500 pays for participating in events such as pride festivals in communities throughout the state
  • $1,000 provides seed money for 4 house parties to reach the community and raise more money
  • $2000 allows us to purchase better technology services to build and mobilize supporters for six months
While some of the above advocacy expenses may be more than many can afford, we all have like-minded friends and family who want to help advocate for equality in our home state. Consider forming a Host Committee with them for a House Party to raise awareness about LGBT equality initiatives like the above bill and raise funds to further the work of TEP. Learn more about House Parties here.

- Jonathan Cole

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