VICTORY! Tennessee Legislative Session Adjourns, Defeating All Anti-LGBTQ Bills!By Shane Stahl • April 26, 2018 • 1:55 pm
On April 25 the 2018 Tennessee legislative session came to a close, thereby stopping movement on all anti-LGBTQ legislation that had been put before lawmakers.
Most recently, on April 4, a bill that would have required the state’s attorney general to defend schools accused of anti-transgender discrimination was defeated in the Senate Judiciary Committee. LGBTQ advocates had said the bill could have permitted districts to pass exclusionary bathroom policies, knowing the state would come to their defense in the face of a lawsuit.
Earlier in the session, a bill that would have restricted restroom access for transgender students was also introduced. The bill was very similar to those brought before the legislature in years past, dating back to 2015; however, the bill was withdrawn before it could make its way through committee and to the floor of the House.
Tennessee has long been a battleground for LGBTQ rights, with various bills attempting to regulate restroom access and the ability for businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people, among other issues brought by lawmakers in recent years.
In mid-2017, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed House Bill 1111. 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 requires “words be given their natural and ordinary meaning” in TN legal code—potentially writing same-sex couples and transgender people out of state laws and creating loopholes that give a license to discriminate.
Freedom For All Americans thanks our partners at the Tennessee Equality Project for their hard work in beating back these discriminatory bills. To learn more about the legislation considered this year, use our 2018 Legislative Tracker.