Tennessee General Assembly Lawmakers Pass Bill That Could Legalize LGBT Bullying
March 28, 2014 by Maureen McCarty, HRC Associate Director of Digital Media
This week, Tennessee lawmakers passed the "Religious Viewpoints Anti-Discrimination Act," which would allow students to express religious beliefs in homework, artwork and assignments.
Though framed as a measure to protect a student’s freedom of speech, the bill opens up state-sanctioned avenues to bully LGBT students. Under the “religious liberties” measure, a student could be permitted to personally target an LGBT student by couching the bullying in religious terms.
Despite lawmakers’ claims, the core, non-discriminatory protections stipulated in the measure are redundant to those allocated under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Federal Equality Access Act.
Only a veto from Governor Haslem can stop this bill from becoming law.
The Tennessee bill is the latest in a slew of state legislation nationwide that aims to enshrine LGBT discrimination under the guise of religious liberty.