WASHINGTON – In an apparent attempt to score cheap political points, Tenn. Governor Bill Haslam has ignored the business community and signed into law a bill that wipes out county and city anti-discrimination laws, despite the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry reversing their earlier support and now opposing the bill. The measure – SB 632/HB 600 – passed the legislature last week and was designed to remove protections for LGBT Tennesseans by prohibiting cities and counties from enacting discrimination bans. Since there are no state protections for sexual orientation or gender identity, the Governor’s signature of this bill becomes a green light for anti-LGBT discrimination across the state.
“Discrimination should have no place in the Volunteer State and the Chamber’s opposition to this law sent a strong signal that corporations are on the leading edge of positive change,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “In contrast Governor Haslam has put discrimination ahead of the state’s values and even business interests by signing this horrible legislation.”
Earlier today, the governor’s spokesman stated no decision had been made regarding the veto. It wasn’t until support for the bill apparently began to dwindle that he hastily signed the bill into law.
Major corporations spoke out against the bill and in favor of workplaces that respect and welcome all individuals. Since the bill passed late last week, Aloca, FedEx, AT&T, KPMG, UnitedHealth Group, Whirlpool, Comcast and other companies publicly disavowed the bill.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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