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, November 27, 2011

Australian marriage ad everyone's talking about, TN Tech students against bullying, another swipe at HB600

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  Here's your weekend roundup.

Australian marriage campaign ad moves the world:  You would have to have avoided Facebook for the last three days or not known any gay people to have missed this compelling ad for the campaign for marriage equality in Australia.  I can't tell you the number of people, straight and gay, who posted "It's Time" over the weekend:

TEP wishes the Australians the best of luck as they get closer to marriage equality!  Spreading the ad around Tennessee can't hurt our own chances for advancing some forms of relationship recognition around here, by the way, even if they don't amount to full marriage equality.

Tennessee Tech students take on bullyingThe Herald-Citizen out of Cookeville has a great piece on a conference being organized by some Tennessee Tech students coming up in January. The conference deals with bullying that targets the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community as well as other minority communities and the topic of cyber-bullying: 

Why should Putnam County be interested in bullying?

"Because it affects everyone," [conference co-organizer Justin] Sweatman said. "Even if you're not a student or parent, you are still in a community where students are being bullied, and it's your responsibility."

And the conference isn't just for locals -- it's a statewide affair.

"Problems don't stop at county lines," Sweatman said. "Bullying is everywhere. But if we can start at home, maybe awareness will spread."

It's always a major win when a local newspaper provides this kind of coverage of an equality issue in Tennessee.  It helps change the attitudes of citizens and it sends a great signal to lawmakers representing the area.

Francois takes swipe at HB600:  In today's Tennessean, former Metro Nashville Council candidate Renard Francois knocks the Legislature over HB600, the Special Access to Discriminate law that nullified Metro's Contract Accountability Non-Discrimination Ordinance, in the course of taking on another state bill that would usurp local control in the area of property taxes: 

This is not the first time the state government has attempted to interfere and undermine the collective will of Davidson County. Last year, the state government simply overturned Nashville’s anti-discrimination ordinance despite robust countywide debate.

Yep, we hope more people will continue to notice the pattern and realize we should have all been trying to stop that train sooner.  But there is still time to fight for legitimate local control.  I hope that all the lobbying interests that are supposed to protect local government--and not the four largest cities in state that did an admirable job this year--get more involved in 2012.

The issue lives.  The press has largely done its job of helping make the citizens of Tennessee realize that they are being usurped.  It's up to all of us to start defending our right to shape our own communities throughout Tennessee.

-Chris Sanders


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