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.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

House Commerce Committee passes anti-LGBT Special Access to Discriminate Act

Rep. Glen Casada of Williamson Co.
In this morning's House Commerce Committee, Rep. Glen Casada presented his Special Access to Discriminate Act (HB600) for a vote. Full video coverage is available HERE (click the HB600 agenda item to advance to that part of the video). As introduced, Casada's legislation would prohibit municipalities, counties and school boards in Tennessee from extending non-discrimination provisions to employees of contractors beyond the floor level provided by current State and Federal law. Translated, local governments could not extend LGBT-inclusive workplace protections to employees of contractors.

The SAD Act passed along mostly partisan lines, but the sponsor endured some intensive questioning and remarks from Representatives G.A. Hardaway of Memphis and Brenda Gilmore of Nashville. Take a moment to thank them at and

Rep. Hardaway asked the bill's sponsor to explain why the bill was needed:
There has been no substantial ..... or barrage of complaints from business? Nobody's done a study indicating that we're losing businesses out of Tennessee, businesses that are unable to do business with certain cities, or unwilling to do business?
Rep. G.A. Hardaway of Shelby Co.
Casada had no evidence, complaints, or studies to present as support for the SAD Act. He could only say he was hoping to be proactive in addressing "problems" with intrastate commerce. Casada speculated that municipalities that say you "got to hire Baptists who have two kids or you got to have someone who has red hair" would make conducting business chaotic. The sponsor, of course, had no evidence to present that Baptists with two children or red heads are at increased risk of discrimination in the workplace or that any local or state governments had legislated workplace protections for them.

Rep. Brenda Gilmore of Davidson Co.
Rep.Gilmore rose in defense of her city's recently passed Contract Accountability Non-Discrimination Ordinance. She acted on behalf of her community by offering an amendment to exempt Nashville Metro/Davidson County from HB600. Her amendment was tabled by a partisan vote of 21 to 7. Most importantly, she made sure that the legislative record reflected that voting for HB600 would clearly target lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees of Nashville Metro contractors.

Committee debate leaves no doubt that there is simply no rational basis for HB600. There is no compelling state interest in prohibiting local governments from extending LGBT-inclusive workplace protections to employees of tax payer funded contractors. Bias against LGBT people is the sole motivation behind voting for the SAD Act.

The SAD Act is headed to the House Calendar and Rules Committee after today's recommendation for passsage. Tennessee Equality Project will continue to fight this legislation in the House and Senate. At this time, we ask you to take action in two ways:

  1. CONTACT Governor Haslam and his administration to encourage the Governor to oppose and ultimately veto this harmful legislation. 
  2. Make a DONATION in support of TEP's work to defend the equal rights of LGBT people and their families link.

Petitions by|Start a Petition »

1 comment:

ritesh said...

Lady Father” is filled with anecdotes that will ring true with many clergy, bring hope to those aspiring to ordination, and shed light on the continuing debate in the Church over who should be ordained. “The Process” described in the book is a journey most clergy have traveled, but my story is a unique blend of the obstacles, denials, and rejections I faced and overcame, along with the uplifting moments .