Tomorrow: Tennessee Legislature to Vote on Anti-LGBTQ Bills

April 29, 2019 • 4:31 pm

Major corporations in Tennessee have expressed concern over their ability to continue to invest in Tennessee if anti-LGBTQ legislation becomes law. 100 business leaders have signed an open letter organized by the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Freedom for All Americans opposing the slate of anti-LGBTQ bills – three of which could reach the Governor’s desk as soon as this week.

The Senate will vote Tuesday morning on three anti-LGBTQ bills:

  • SB 1499 would encourage school districts to pass anti-transgender restroom policies that prohibit transgender students from using the facilities that correspond with their gender identity, and would require the Attorney General to provide legal defense for those discriminatory school districts at taxpayers’ expense.
  • SB 1304 would allow taxpayer-funded child welfare services to discriminate against LGBTQ people, single parents, and people of minority faiths, among others.
  • SB 1297 is a bill that expands the places where indecent exposure is illegal to include restrooms and locker rooms. It was amended to remove blatantly stigmatizing anti-transgender language, though it could still encourage harassment of transgender people in public spaces.

The open letter is signed by over 25 major corporations including AllianceBernstein, Amazon, Bridgestone Americas, Dell Technologies, Genesco, Lyft, Nashville Predators, Nissan, Postmates, Salesforce, Tennessee Titans, and Warner Music Group.

Postmates released the following statement citing job growth and expansion concerns: “The politics of division that sailed through the legislature this week not only undermines the equal dignity of all persons and emboldens policies of discrimination — but also it undercuts the economic prospects of hundreds of dedicated community members who live and are employed by companies like Postmates. We are extremly concerned passage of these bills could harm job growth for us, especially as we have economic incentive packages with the State to expand our presence; and as tech is in a worldwide race for top talent, Tennessee should not give companies any reason to reconsider where they call home. We’re taking a stand with our merchants, our Postmates fleet, our customers, our small business owners, our veterans, and our brothers and sisters, to say simply: no matter your race, color, creed, or food order — we stand with you.” — Vikrum Aiyer, VP of Global Public Policy & Strategic Communications

On Saturday in the midst of day 3 of the NFL Draft taking place in Nashville, the Tennessee Titans released a statement: “The Tennessee Titans oppose discrimination in any form. We are long-standing supporters of Tennessee Thrives. Discriminatory legislation hurts all of us. It also impacts our ability to secure events like the 2019 NFL Draft, major conventions, major athletic contests and other events that benefit our local and state economy. It also weakens our ability to recruit new business and industry to Nashville and to Tennessee. We would encourage our elected officials to keep us on a path that protects all our citizens, our growth and our economy.”

The most recent statements released today come from the other major league sporting teams in Nashville, the Nashville Predators and the Nashville Soccer Club issued statements who echoed the concerns made by the Titans.

Nashville Predators: “The Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena oppose discrimination of any kind.  In an effort to keep our state vibrant with potential for tremendous economic and social growth, we proudly support Tennessee Thrives.We have seen our city and state stand with us during NHL All-Star Weekend and the NHL Stanley Cup Final and we have witnessed lower Broadway embrace the incredible volume of fans for the SEC during the Men’s and Women’s basketball tournaments. Passing discriminatory legislation would limit revenue for the city of Nashville and the state of Tennessee by inhibiting our ability to secure events like those and future events such as league marquee events, NCAA Games, award shows and countless potential concerts. We strongly encourage our elected officials to keep us on an inclusive path that protects the rights of all Tennessee citizens.”

Nashville Soccer Club: “As a major league sports club approaching our inaugural season in Major League Soccer, we carefully selected diversity and inclusion as two of our core values as an organization. We cannot and do not condone discrimination of any form, or support legislation that explicitly or implicitly allows discrimination against LGBTQ people and their families. Our team, and we believe our city, should be open to all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, ethnic origin or race, and we stand as proudly with the LGBTQ community as we do with all other communities.”

For more information and for businesses wishing to sign the open letter, contact joe@nashvillelgbtchamber.org.

 


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