Busy week ahead at the Tennessee Legislature for LGBT bills
According to the Tennessee Equality Project, "next week is going to be one of the toughest for Tennessee's LGBT community."
In an email to supporters, the organization outlined the bills that legislators will discuss next week. The second Advancing Equality Day on the Hill is next week, too, and an effort to get Tennessee-based clergy to voice their opposition to six specific pieces of anti-LGBT legislation is meeting with success.
On Tuesday at 3pm, the anti-transgender bathroom bill will be discussed by the House Education Administration and Planning subcommittee. Also on Tuesday at 3pm (yes, it's the same day and same time), House bill 1111 is up for a vote in the Civil Justice Committee. HB1111 is the bill that TEP is calling "a sneaky version of the LGBT Erasure Bill" that as it was introduced, "requires that undefined words be given their natural and ordinary meaning, without forced or subtle construction that would limit or extend the meaning of the language, except when a contrary intention is clearly manifest." So yeah, erasure.
By a stroke of fortuity, TEP's second Advancing Equality Day on the Hill is Tuesday as well. The organization has scheduled a number of appointments with legislators and collected "a good group of advocates" who'll make those appointments and speak on our community's behalf. Those interested in participating, if you haven't already signed up, are invited to contact TEP Executive Director Chris Sanders.
On Wednesday at 3pm, the Senate Education Committee will vote on the Senate version of the anti-transgender bathroom bill.
As for SB127, the Business License to Discriminate bill, it is headed back to the Senate floor after a brief stop at the Finance committee. As of this writing, it is not scheduled for Monday afternoon, but is likely to show up later in the week.
A new open letter signed by Tennessee-based clergy denouncing what TEP calls "the [legislative] slate of hate" has been signed by nearly thirty members of the clergy. The letter identifies six specific pieces of legislation for which they're voicing opposition. According to the letter, those are:
SB30/HB33. The LGBT Erasure Bill. By requiring that the words “father,” “mother,” “husband,” and “wife” be given their natural and ordinary meaning, this bill interferes with the identities and families of LGBT people.
SB127/HB54. The Business License to Discriminate Bill. This subtly worded piece of legislation actually opens the door to allowing businesses and nonprofits to discriminate in their HR and benefit policies while using taxpayer dollars.
SB752/HB892. The Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act states the policy of Tennessee to defend marriage as only between one man and one woman regardless of what the courts say.
SB771/HB888. The Anti-Transgender Student Bathroom Bill. This bill requires students to use restrooms according to the sex designation on their birth certificates and not according to their gender identity.
SB1085/HB1111. The Sneaky LGBT Erasure Bill. This bill does everything that SB30/HB33 does while trying to hide the effects upon the LGBT community from the public.
SB1153/HB1406. The Attack on Parenthood Bill. This bill repeals statute that deems a child born to a married woman as a result of artificial insemination, with consent of the married woman's husband, to be the legitimate child of the husband and wife. This bill is directed at lesbian couples and could affect other couples.