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TN governor signs anti-gay bill that 13 major corporations lobbied in support of

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Monday signed into law a bill that would prohibit local governments from creating anti-discrimination laws that are stricter than protections laid out by the state government.

Bill Haslam

The law targets a recently enacted Nashville ordinance that banned city contractors from discriminating against gay, lesbian and transgender people.

Supporters of the bill argued that it was necessary to keep discrimination rules the same in communities throughout Tennessee.

Under Tennessee state law it is illegal to discriminate against a person because of race, creed, color, religion, sex, age or national origin.

On April 5, the Nashville Metro Council adopted new rules that added “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to its protected classes, prohibiting firms doing business with the city from discriminating against its LGBT citizens.

The new law overturns the Nashville ordinance, and prohibits all Tennessee municipalities from enacting similar protections for LGBT people.

Last week, AMERICAblog reported that the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce — chaired by Nissan, and whose other board members include such companies as Nissan, FedEx, AT&T, Comcast, DuPont, Pfizer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Caterpillar, KPMG, Whirlpool, Embraer, Alcoa, and United HealthCare — actively lobbied for the bill.

Following the AMERICAblog report, Aloca, FedEx, AT&T, KPMG, UnitedHealth Group, Whirlpool, and Comcast all disavowed proposed law.

But earlier on Monday, just hours before Haslam signed the bill, AMERICAblog reported that all 13 companies were put on notice several weeks ago, by members of the Nashville city council, that the legislation they were lobbying for, via their roles on the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, would repeal Nashville’s civil rights ordinance.

The letter was delivered April 29, just days after the bill was passed in the House. None of the companies took action to stop the bill before it cleared the Senate on May 12.

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Filed under: Tennessee

25 more reader comments:

  1. Well how about that. I now extend a giant F you to: Nissan, FedEx, AT&T, Comcast, DuPont, Pfizer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Caterpillar, KPMG, Whirlpool, Embraer, Alcoa, and United HealthCare.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 3:11am
  2. Its good to know the ‘wish to be Nazi’ movement is so strong in America. I wonder if touching them with a crucifix is still a viable method of dispelling bigots like Bill.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 3:19am
  3. Tennessee seems to be the place to be if you are a homophobe and you dont care who knows it.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 3:26am
  4. Don, that is a totally unfair statement, and just the kind of stereotyping we should all avoid. Really, most TN adults are against gay marriage, but the youth are, for the most part, supportive. And the adults against have no problem with gay relationships, they just don’t want to allow marriage.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 3:30am
  5. Boooooo

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 3:34am
  6. Guess I want to avoid Nissan, FedEx, AT&T, Comcast, DuPont, Pfizer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Caterpillar, KPMG, Whirlpool, Embraer, Alcoa, and United HealthCare.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 4:16am
  7. Well now. I am not getting my new cube…. guess the soul was cutter any how

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 4:52am
  8. Ugh.. and I work for Fedex…fml

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 5:37am
  9. Kirby, that’s not equality. And it’s also a farce. If anyone says they don’t have a problem with gay relationships but are against gay marriage, they HAVE a problem with gay relationships. If there is ‘no problem’ then they wouldn’t care about gay marriage.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 5:41am
  10. It’s fascinating how people can say they are tolerant of LGBT people while at the same time denying them rights. Those two thoughts are incongruent.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 5:43am
  11. And I think that TN’s recent legislation is indicative of the makeup of many or most people in the state. You can’t say gay in their schools, they attack gay-straight alliances, they are trying to get a constitutional ban, and now this. It’s a bigoted state.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 5:48am
  12. Bryan, I read more hate on this FB page than I have ever experienced living in Tennessee! The problem with marriage is religion vs law. While I understand discrimination, I KNOW that many of the folks here would accept civil unions. That is progress.It’s only incongruent if your thinking is too narrow to incompass it. CA and NY can’t pass marriage laws, so to expect it to happen in Tennessee is shortsighted.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 5:51am
  13. Effective today, these companies are now on my black list. And you know what they say, one unsatisfied customer equals one hundred unsatisfied customers equals ten thousand unsatisfied customers equals…

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 5:55am
  14. I’m canceling my AT&T account as soon as I can. I’m not going to support a company that is against civil rights of any citizen.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 5:56am
  15. Debra, I grew up in WV so I think I have a pretty good understanding of the culture of that part of the country. I know they’re a religious folk, but religion has no place in law. I hear your thoughts on civil unions, and sure, it’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not equality. Separate is not equal. How many times do we have to learn that lesson in this country?

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 7:05am
  16. Debra, I certainly can see your point that you have seen hate messages on this page. I’ve also seen some mean things that have been said, what I’ve noticed about them is that they have been reactions to hateful messages or actions directed at the lgbt community. While hate only propagates hate, these reactions are a completely natural reaction.
    You mention NY and CA not being able to pass pro-lgbt measures. I would argue that a failure to pass a measure pales in comparison to actively seeking to, and succeeding at, stripping lgbt people of rights and effectively announcing that it is ok and right to discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 8:04am
  17. I’ll make one more point…The companies that you all are planning to avoid, all lobbyed Gov Haslam to NOT sign the bill. Just proving further more that there is a lot of misinformation being spread by uninformed posting. Folks must not have read the headline or the article. Foolishness abounds.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 8:14am
  18. Dell, good point, yes it is pale in compairson. My point is that the fight is much more difficult here. Don’t expec miracles.Not passing the law is not passing it, no mater how it’s colored. I disagree about the hate speak. It has been a reaction that mirrors the haters. Don’t so what you don’t want to have done to yourself. On one thread Tennesseans were refered to as inbreeders, redneck, retards. The fact that people posted about avoiding the list of companies that lobbyed Haslam shows who the morons are.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 8:25am
  19. We are cancelling out vacation to the TN. We will go spend our money elsewhere. AT&T will be cancelled at contracts end.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 9:08am
  20. Write all the places you planned to stay and visit and tell them why. ATT is real wishy washy on their policies. Check CREDO. They used to buy out your contract if you switch.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 9:27am
  21. Angela, That’s the support we need but please write and tell Haslam and tourism officials so they know you are staying away and why.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 12:02pm
  22. Life Lesbianstyle and Angela, That’s the support we need but please write and tell Haslam and tourism officials so they know you are staying away and why.

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 1:09pm
  23. Seeking references that would help answer whether the challenges of acceptance are different for American Indians than for the whole USA and if so how

    Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 4:06pm
  24. So…. what he said is completely accurate then….

    Posted on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 4:36pm
  25. There is absolutely no difference between a gay marriage and a gay relationship other than a piece of paper so those who are against the marriage are against it all, regardless of what they say. Yes, Virginia, there are homophobes. Not only in TN but all around….it is up to people with open minds, hearts and common sense to push foward and see that ALL PEOPLE ARE TREATED EQUALLY AND FAIRLY. Religion is a personal choice just like being gay so lets not open that can of worms, zealots!

    Posted on Sunday, June 12, 2011 at 12:25pm