Tennessee Governor Signs Discriminatory LGBT Erasure Bill into Law

By Adam Polaski • May 5, 2017 • 1:35 pm

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam just signed House Bill 1111 into law. The measure requires the state to interpret all undefined words such as “mother,” “father,” “husband” and “wife,” by their “natural and ordinary meaning.” Known as the “LGBT Erasure” bill, the legislation will “require that words be given their natural and ordinary meaning” in TN legal code—effectively writing same-sex couples and transgender people out of state laws and creating loop holes that give a license to discriminate.

According to the state’s Republican Attorney General, the law runs afoul of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that found same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marriage equality.

Kasey Suffredini, chief operating officer for Freedom for All Americans, released the following statement regarding the

Haslam’s discriminatory action:

““We are deeply disappointed that Gov. Haslam signed this discriminatory measure into law. House Bill 1111 is a blatant and unconstitutional attempt by Gov. Haslam and Tennessee lawmakers to rescind the rights of same-sex couples and parents. Thankfully, the vast majority of Americans strongly support the right of same-sex couples to marry, raise their families and live free of the discrimination perpetuated by this law.”

GLAAD added: “By the stroke of a pen, Governor Haslam has now placed the future of the state’s economy and the well-being of the LGBTQ community in jeopardy. HB 1111 has the potential to undermine marriages between LGBTQ couples, nullify a transgender person’s true identity under law, and put LGBTQ families at risk. This sets a dangerous precedent for how the LGBTQ community is treated in Tennessee moving forward.”

Governor Haslam’s signature makes this the fifth anti-LGBT bill signed into law in 2017, following two anti-LGBT adoption bills in South Dakota and Alabama, an anti-LGBT bill targeting student organizations in Kentucky, and North Carolina’s terrible non-repeal of HB2. More than 100 other anti-LGBT bills, however, have been defeated.

We were proud to work with our partners at Tennessee Equality Project to call for defeat of this bill – and despite this setback, we call for greater understanding, education, and support for LGBT equality and non-discrimination across the Volunteer State.

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