Press Room

May 25, 2004


HRC Condemns Vote on Discriminatory Constitutional Amendment in Tennessee

'No Constitution should be used to discriminate,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON- The Human Rights Campaign condemned the Tennessee Legislature's passage of a discriminatory amendment to the state constitution that would deny marriage to same-sex couples.

"No constitution should be used to discriminate," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "The Volunteer State's most official document should be used to ensure freedoms, not take them away."

On May 19, the state Senate voted 28 to 1 to pass H.J.R. 990 - just a week after the House approved the measure. To pass, the measure must receive a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and Senate in 2005 or 2006. The anti-marriage ban would not go to voters until 2006.

"Our state constitution is there to protect the rights of all Tennesseans. The fact that a group of legislators are attempting to use it as a tool of discrimination is unconscionable," said Barb Neligan, a member of HRC's board of governors, who has been working against the measure. "We have our work cut out for us. At a minimum, every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizen in Tennessee needs to contact his or her legislators between now and the next session and tell them that using the state constitution as a tool of discrimination is unacceptable."

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.