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.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A look back on a year in the politics of equality in Tennessee: Photos from around the state

It's not over yet, but 2013 has been an incredible year in forward movement for equality in Tennessee.  We fought hard and even got some results.  Check out a few of the highlights.

Advancing Equality Day on the Hill brought advocates from East, West, and Middle TN to the Capitol to attempt to stop negative bills like Don't Say Gay and advance positive legislation like the Dignity for All Students Act.  Here we are preparing for a press conference in Legislative Plaza.
On July 22 the Knox County Commission passed an inclusive non-discrimination ordinance for Knox County employees.  Pictured are bill sponsor Commissioner Amy Broyles and supporters in Knoxville in Commission chambers after the victory.
When Rep. John Ragan, House sponsor of the Don't Say Gay bill received an award from Students First, 11-year-old Marcel Neergaard called foul.  As a student who has endured bullying for being gay, Marcel received national attention when he called on Students First to rescind the award, which they did.  Yes, a student really can teach the public about what's going on in our Legislature!  Marcel continues to inspire us all at TEP.  
In order to show the reality of discrimination, couples in Nashville and a couple in Wilson County...

as well as couples in Shelby County applied for marriage licenses.    

Knoxville, Memphis, Cookeville, West TN, Chattanooga, and Nashville held rallies at the end of August to celebrate TN Marriage Equality Day to counter the Legislature's Traditional Marriage Day.  I think we had a better turnout than they did.  
In September the push began for inclusive non-discrimination and anti-bullying policies in Rutherford County Schools after a teacher was told to take down a safe schools poster.  The fight continues today with advocates developing strategy to advance their proposal in the School Board.  
At Olympus TEP honored 8 Champions of Equality--7 from state media outlets and 1 Memphis City Councilman--for their work in advancing equality in Tennessee.  Nothing we do is possible without our allies!
The Memphis community gathered in October to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the non-discrimination ordinance.
Also in October attorney Abby Rubenfeld, other Tennessee attorneys, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed suit to have the marriage of couples who moved to Tennessee legally recognized.  TEP identified 2 of the 4 plaintiff couples.
Collegedale detective Kat Cooper (center) led her city to be the first in TN to offer partner benefits.  Knoxville soon followed by executive order of Mayor Madeline Rogero.  In November Chattanooga Councilman Chris Anderson passed his partner benefits and non-discrimination ordinance making it the third city in Tennessee to offer such benefits.  Also pictured is Kat's TEP Hamilton & Bradley Counties Committee co-chair Marcus Ellsworth (viewer's left) and TEP executive director Chris Sanders.

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