Legislature Moves to Empower Businesses to Discriminate

Discriminatory Bill Reaches Committee Today

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This past week, a number of Middle Tennessee businesses have asserted their license to discriminate against LGBT customers. The Tennessee Legislature wants to establish that right in law, and to make sure that businesses don’t risk government contracts for discriminating.

Today, February 26, 2019, the first bill in this year’s “slate of hate” will receive a committee hearing today. House Bill 563 – the License to Discriminate – would prohibit the state or local governments from denying a contract or taking action against a business that has discriminatory policies. This is mean to prevent local governments, like Nashville, from looking out for their own citizens.

Amy Mello of Freedom for All Americans said, “This bill essentially turns the table on nondiscrimination, protecting business owners who adopt policies based on treating the public differently based on who they are or who they love. Government would not be able to disadvantage businesses in contracts or grants if the internal policies of the business or nonprofit are discriminatory.  In other words, it opens the door to taxpayer funded discrimination.”

The Tennessee Equality Project informed its members that the bill will be heard by the Tennessee House Business Subcommittee at 3 p.m. in House Hearing Room 3 in the Cordell Hull Building. They encourage all who can attend to come out wearing red. And for those of you who can’t attend, they ask that you share the event with your social media, to try to get out a critical mass of people.

Those who wish to contact the Chair of the Business Subcommittee, Rep. Curtis Johnson, may do so by calling (615) 741-4341) or emailing rep.curtis.johnson@capitol.tn.gov.