A lawsuit filed in Nashville challenging a new state law says the legislation voids school board policies that protect gay and lesbian students from bullying and harassment, but the law's sponsor disagrees.More >>
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
Lawmakers in Nashville are trying again to undo the repeal of a non-discrimination ordinance that was once city law. State lawmakers overturned the local ordinance last session, but now there is a move to repeal the repeal.
Gay rights groups and supporters gathered Friday on the steps of the Capitol to urge equality.
"We will win the fight for equality one state law at a time, one city ordinance at a time, one congregation at a time and one community at a time," Karin Quimby, of the Human Rights Campaign, said.
The building has been the scene of this fight before, from students chanting outside to lawmakers voting inside.
But it started in the Metro Council chambers with an ordinance to require people who do business with the city to include sexual orientation and gender identity in its non-discrimination clause.
It didn't last long, though, as state lawmakers voted to overturn it shortly after it went into effect.
"It was not about business. It was a thinly veiled attempt to strike down and prevent any future nondiscrimination laws in this state that include sexual orientation and gender identity," Chris Sanders, of the Tennessee Equality Project, said.
State Rep. Brenda Gilmore is leading the effort to repeal the repeal, and she says since the governor signed the law many businesses and the Chamber of Commerce have come out against it.
"Some of the major companies in this city have similar policies so why shouldn't our government also extend the same protection to the gay and lesbian community," Rep. Gilmore said.
Gilmore says the movement has a chance because the business community is on their side.
But those who supported repealing Metro's non-discrimination ordinance say don't expect to see a change.
"It just creates an environment for businessmen. So, no, it passed with bipartisan support and in this environment I just don't see it getting out of subcommittee," Rep. Glen Casada said.
Casada says this bill isn't for the Fortune 500 companies, it was passed for the small businesses.
However, it must pass court scrutiny. The first hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for Oct. 31.
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