Outrageous Anti-LGBT Legislation Voted Down in Tennessee House Subcommittee

by Stephen Peters

Vote was the first in the nation during the 2016 state legislative session on nearly 100 anti-LGBT bills being considered across 24 states

WASHINGTON –  Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, and Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), the statewide organization working to advance the values of equality and inclusion for LGBT people, praised the news that the House Civil Justice Subcommittee has voted down an extreme measure being pushed by anti-LGBT activists which disgracefully sought to eliminate marriage equality in the state and require the state to defend marriage as “between one man and one woman.”

“As the first vote this year on the nearly 100 anti-LGBT bills being considered across 24 states, this is certainly encouraging news from Tennessee,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “We will remain vigilant in case this legislation should resurface in any other form, and continue to work with our local partners to fight other anti-LGBT legislation in the Tennessee Legislature.”

"Tennessee Equality Project joins HRC in thanking the members of the House Civil Justice Subcommittee for a thorough discussion of HB 1412,” said Chris Sanders of Tennessee Equality Project. “We are grateful that this bill will not be moving this session and remain watchful of any attempts to discriminate against LGBT Tennesseans."

HRC and TEP strongly condemned the legislation yesterday ahead of the committee’s vote today. The so-called Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act sought to eliminate marriage equality in the state and would have placed the financial burden on Tennessee taxpayers to defend lawsuits challenging the unconstitutional and shameful discrimination in all resulting legal challenges.  Analysis by the Tennessee General Assembly’s Fiscal Review Committee determined that passage of the bill would have cost the state upwards of $8 billion annually.

The outrageous legislation voted down today is part of an onslaught of anti-LGBT bills being pushed in 2016 by anti-equality activists around the country. Earlier this month, HRC released new analysis previewing the state and local legislative battles in the year ahead, including anti-LGBT bills likely to be considered in at least 27 states. To date, HRC is tracking nearly 100 anti-LGBT bills in 24 states. These range from legislation attempting to undermine marriage equality; proposals aimed to authorize individuals, businesses, and taxpayer-funded agencies to cite religion as a legal reason to refuse goods or services to LGBT people; bills seeking to restrict or criminalize transgender people who use restrooms or locker rooms consistent with their gender identity; and even legislation aimed at eliminating the ability of local governments to protect LGBT residents and visitors. For more information, visit: www.hrc.org/2016legislature.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Founded in 2004, Tennessee Equality Project is a statewide organization advancing the rights of Tennessee's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.  For more information, visit TNEP.org.


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