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, May 2, 2012

Thanks Speaker Harwell, Rep. Maggart and Gov. Haslam

House Speaker Beth Harwell, Republican Caucus Chair Rep. Debra Maggart and Governor Bill Haslam
Tennessee Equality Project was one of the last organizations to formally declare the defeat of the Don't Say Gay bill (HB0229/SB0049). After fighting many bills in the legislature over the years, we've learned that anything can happen in the last days of the legislative session - especially when the rules of the House or Senate are suspended to facilitate the legislative process. Until a motion to adjourn is approved and the final gavel is heard, every bill is technically still alive.

We've fought the Don't Say Gay bill for six long years. This year, the bill met its surest defeat in the 107th Tennessee General Assembly. After enduring years of negative media attention, the ire of constituents and the sobering incidents of two gay Tennessee students completing suicide after being bullied, no sensible person wanted to see this legislation advance. We also realize that Senate sponsor Stacey Campfield or House sponsor Joey Hensley could reintroduce the bill when the 108th Tennessee General Assembly convenes. We will be ready if they do.

In yesterday's message to our supporters, we thanked many people for their vigilance in opposing this anti-LGBT legislation. But also owe thanks to three leaders in State Government who took a stand against extremism in their own party.

We give special thanks House Speaker Beth Harwell, Republican House Caucus Chair Rep. Debra Maggart and Governor Bill Haslam. Each of these individuals did their part in preventing a mean-spirited bill from marginalizing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and families in Tennessee schools.

Take a moment to send a thank you note to these leaders. Without them, we would not have defeated this bill.

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