Tennessee Legislature Sends Unconstitutional LGBT Erasure Bill to Governor

April 27, 2017 • 3:38 pm

WASHINGTON – Earlier today, the Tennessee state Senate gave final approval to a piece of legislation that will eliminate the rights of same sex couples and parents. House Bill 1111 seeks to require the state to give all undefined words their “natural and ordinary meaning,” such as mother, father, wife and husband. The measure, which now heads to Republican Governor Bill Haslam’s desk, is an attempt by lawmakers to eliminate the rights of same-sex couples to marry, adopt children, divorce and more.

“The passage of this legislation is an egregious and blatantly unconstitutional effort to take away the rights of same-sex couples,” Matt McTighe, executive director of Freedom for All Americans, said. “I urge Gov. Haslam to take a definitive stand for Tennessee’s LGBT community and veto this vindictive piece of legislation.”

The legislation flies in the face of the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision which found that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marriage equality and all the privileges associated with it. As seen in other states that have adopted anti-LGBT laws, Tennessee is expected to lose millions of dollars in business, jobs, conventions and tourism if the measure is signed into law.

“Business leaders and everyday Americans do not want to spend their hard-earned money in states that discriminate against  anyone, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” McTighe added.

Once the measure is transmitted to Haslam’s office, he will have 10 days to sign or veto the legislation, excluding Sunday. After the 10 day deadline, the measure will become law with or without his signature.

“Gov. Haslam has an opportunity to defend his LGBT constituents, as well as his state’s economy and reputation by vetoing this unconstitutional measure. We hope he does the right thing,” McTighe concluded.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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