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Tenn. bill allowing discrimination against gay couples dead this session

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A proposal to protect wedding-related businesses from lawsuits if they refuse to provide services to same-sex couples is dead for the session after being withdrawn from a Senate committee on Tuesday.

TennesseeThe measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Mike Bell of Riceville was pulled from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Under the measure, a person or group wouldn’t have to provide services for a domestic partnership or marriage not recognized by the state if doing so would violate their religious beliefs. Tennessee does not recognize same-sex marriages.

Bell had said he wanted to protect shop owners in Tennessee, noting that those in other states have been sued for refusing to do business.

But on Tuesday, he said he had talked with legal experts and believes there are current state protections that address his concerns.

“I’m convinced that current Tennessee law protects our business owners from the type of lawsuit harassment we’ve seen in other states,” he said.

Opponents of the measure say it’s intended to target gay, lesbian and transgender couples and is discriminatory.

“What was happening here was the effort to codify discrimination; to actually say that individuals could use their religion to discriminate, and that was not acceptable,” said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee. “Religion should not be used as a reason to discriminate.”

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The bill was proposed in the wake of recent court rulings in other states striking down bans on same-sex marriage.

Supporters of the measure believe Tennessee’s ban will be overturned eventually, and that the bill would protect the religious beliefs of business owners.

Tennessee is one of five states where lawmakers have introduced “religious freedom” bills targeting same-sex couples, mostly in response to the rapid advancement of marriage equality.

A bill in South Dakota was defeated earlier Tuesday, and a bill in Kansas was declared “dead” by that state’s Senate Judiciary Committee.

Arizona’s bill is still making its way in the state legislature, and a measure in Idaho is on hold.

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47 more reader comments:

  1. But of course. Bigotry loses….again!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:18am
  2. what do u mean

    Replied on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 4:01am
  3. Good to see the US in progress from cleansing the hatred bigotry.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:19am
  4. If they don’t want to do LGBT weddings Fuck um. Expose them. But we cannot expect people to like us. Sue? That’s crazy. I ain’t got time for that.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:19am
  5. Woohoo!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:20am
  6. And stay dead!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:20am
  7. Lets keep the ball rolling in the right direction people!!!! :)

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:21am
  8. ….and the crazies here (Tennessee) are having a fit.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:22am
  9. vote people together we can kick out these bigots

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:22am
  10. next big victory ya’ll whooo hoooo ………

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:24am
  11. i hope they stay dead and no more try come about

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:24am
  12. Strang how the claim they are Christian. . Not now or never were.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:26am
  13. WoohOo

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:27am
  14. Not enough hatred.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:27am
  15. Michael Larson Chris Madsen just to keep u up to speed

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:35am
  16. About time. … Once again

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:36am
  17. Good stop these hate bills in their tracks

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:39am
  18. Arizona still has at least one equally bigoted law in the pipeline …

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:40am
  19. Good damn thing since I work in tn. Would hate to have to knock someone out .

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:45am
  20. clearer heads….such a waste of time and money….think what positive things we could be doing instead….

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:46am
  21. Who in their right mind sponsors a bill that promotes and supports hate and discrimination?!?!? Hello it’s 2014 it’s time for people to grow the F up and keep their nose on their own face!.!.!.! If u don’t like it ignore it, I’m not out trying to concoct some anti hate/discrimination bill against str8 people. People seriously make me sick anymore with all the hatred they have for people they don’t know and something they don’t understand!.!.!.! I hope and pray that all these closed minded one tracked mind politicians end up with gay children or grandchildren, then let’s see how they explain their hate and laws to discriminate against their own family to their children/grandchildren!.!.!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:54am
  22. Score 3 for equality, score 0 for bigotry! ;)

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 1:04am
  23. They will be back undoubtedly.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 1:06am
  24. amen.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 1:07am
  25. We Can Do This!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 1:19am
  26. Yayness…:-)

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 1:31am
  27. Don’t be lulled to sleep by these “victories”. It’s an election year and many politicians won’t support this in an election year, but will when they’re not.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 1:44am
  28. Who even comes up with these bills? Sounds pretty dumb to me. If it’s a matter of say a baker not wanting to sell a cake to a lesbian couple then I think it’s their right…no reason to sue. But I also think that it’s right for that same said couple to let everyone they know not to use that business. There will always be bigots just like there will always be gay/straight people. The way we deal with one another is the problem. Even if you aren’t gay that doesn’t mean that you have to hate someone that is gay. Everyone is different and even though I am straight I have no issues with anyone’s sexual orientation. No need for it. It doesn’t affect my my life one way or another. We need to start looking on the inside instead of labels we like like to attach.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 1:56am
  29. Hate bills fail. Another score for humanity! Kindness, please, love, and kindness. There ain’t nothing else…

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 2:46am
  30. Keep in mind the Republicans have not given up on this. Vote them out in November!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 3:16am
  31. Bow down Bitches.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 3:18am
  32. Yes….Im thrilled…. now lets do this in every state & we’ll be good.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 3:19am
  33. Wtf

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 3:38am
  34. goog

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 3:44am
  35. I am not religious by any means, but I am pretty sure that God accepts everyone, so using your religion to discriminate against people doesnt seem like something that God would approve of… just saying

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 3:56am
  36. I am glad to see a few people have not lost the cause for equality.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 4:18am
  37. Thank god some of them have brains

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 4:29am
  38. Steps in the right direction; but we still have far to go.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 7:02am
  39. Sweet God, yes. Thank God. Or whoever.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 8:05am
  40. The concern I have is this coming up again after NOV

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 10:06am
  41. The religious wackos are having less and less influence. Soon they will be in the numbers of the KKK! Bigots all of them!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 10:09am
  42. Like the asshole Repugnicants who continually try to propose and pass legislation to defeat the ACA, the homophobes who tried to get these bills made into law in their states will be back until they finally one day, maybe, get it through their thick stubborn skulls that trying to pass laws that hate and discriminate against one group of people just won’t ever succeed.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 11:19am
  43. There is still an active bill here in Arizona though….

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 11:26am
  44. Yay!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 1:02pm
  45. I’m amazed at the number of people who try to legally discriminate. Totally Godless.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 1:35pm
  46. Must had been an idea by an old straight man whose wife left him for a woman.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 1:45pm
  47. There’s no hatred like Christian Hatred….

    Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 2:41pm