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What are we going to do with you, Tennessee?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

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[Trigger warning for GLBTphobia and bigotry in general]

You may have heard about the "Don't Say Gay" bill working its way through the Tennessee General Assembly. The bill would have barred teachers from discussing sexuality in front of students in grades K-8, or something like that:
[This bill, as] introduced, prohibits the teaching of or furnishing of materials on human sexuality other than heterosexuality in public school grades K-8. [emphasis mine]
It doesn't look like the House will vote on the bill this year, although the Senate is scheduled to take it up tomorrow. If the full Senate passes the bill, the House will have another opportunity to approve it next session.

But wait, there's more!

Last month, the government of metropolitan Nashville passed an ordinance requiring its contractors to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

But wait, states' rights!

Yesterday, a Senate committee passed The Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act, or as I have nicknamed it, the "We Don't Like Your Type Around Here" bill.
This bill prohibits any local government from imposing on any person an anti-discrimination practice, standard, definition or provision that varies in any manner from the definition of "discriminatory practices" under present law or other types of discrimination recognized by state law but only to the extent recognized by the state. Under present law, "discriminatory practices" means any direct or indirect act or practice of exclusion, distinction, restriction, segregation, limitation, refusal, denial, or any other act or practice of differentiation or preference in the treatment of a person or persons because of race, creed, color, religion, sex, age or national origin.

Under this bill, any such anti-discrimination practice, standard, definition, or provision imposed on any such person by a local government prior to the effective date of this bill would be null and void. The above requirements would not apply with respect to employees of a local government.

Additionally, this bill clarifies that with regards to discriminatory practices and human rights, "sex" means the designation of the person as male or female as indicated on the person's birth certificate.
"Bonus": Last time I heard, Tennessee does not allow trans people to challenge the gender that professionals assigned to them at birth.

Extra "Bonus": As you might have noticed, this bill prohibits all kinds of civil rights ordinances.

The Tennessee House has already passed the "We Don't Like Your Type Around Here" bill. If the full Senate votes to approve it, the bill will go to the desk of Republican Governor Bill Haslam.

So yeah, um, Happy Buddha's Birthday everyone.
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