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, August 8, 2011

The unfinished business of equality in the Bluff City - Part 1

In 2010, the Memphis City Council failed to enact employment non-discrimination legislation that would provide LGBT-inclusive workplace protections to employees of Memphis City government and employees of city contractors. A resolution protecting contract employees never made it out of committee and the employment non-discrimination ordinance (ENDO) failed by one vote on second reading.

Since that time, the legal frame work for extending workplace protections to employees was narrowed by the Tennessee General Assembly with the "Special Access to Discriminate" Act (HB600/SB632). In the State of Tennessee, local governments are prohibited from protecting the employees of private employers from unfair discrimination if state law does not already protect those employees - even when those private employees are paid with your tax dollars. Tennessee Equality Project has joined other plaintiffs in a court challenge of the SAD Act. 

While the SAD Act hinders efforts in the private sector to protect employees, the City of Memphis can protect government employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. City of Memphis elections on October 6 present a new opportunity to advance workplace equality in Memphis for city employees. 

Within days, TEP PAC will announce endorsements for Memphis City Council. When this happens, we hope that you'll make a commitment to support these endorsed candidates as a volunteer for their campaigns, with contributions to fund their campaigns, and - most important - with your vote. Early voting begins Sep. 16, so there are only 5 weeks to educate voters about the equality advocates running for office. 

What will you do to help resolve the unfinished business of equality in the Bluff City?

- Jonathan Cole

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