Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and Chief of Police Fred Fletcher will join local civil rights activists and religious leaders to speak at a pro-LGBT rights rally on Sunday, June 11th at 3:30 PM. The rally will be held in front of the City Council building, and activists plan to immediately follow the rally with a march through Downtown Chattanooga.
The City of Chattanooga passed an ordinance in 2015 to protect city employees from discrimination. But that ordinance doesn’t go far enough, say local activists, because it doesn’t extend to all of Chattanooga’s citizens. They are calling for the City Council to pass a new non-discrimination ordinance.
The proposal may face some opposition from state leadership. In 2011, Governor Haslam signed into law HB 600, which may restrict local municipalities from passing certain nondiscrimination measures that exceed state or federal law. Activists believe that due to the nature of the law, there may be a way for the city to challenge or bypass this restriction after some recent federal rulings.
Mayor Berke and Chief Fletcher have not directly endorsed the new proposal, but plan to speak in support of LGBTQ+ rights and protections at Sunday’s rally.
Chattanooga will join over 50 cities across America with Sunday's rally and march in support of LGBT equality rights. Here in Nashville the rally will take place at Legislative Plaza and will begin at 11am. Organizers nationwide are hoping to bring together all marginalized communities and supporters to the rallies.
Will & Grace stars Sean Hayes and Debra Messing produced the following clip for GLAAD in advance of this weekend's events, in particular calling for marginalized communities and allies alike to join the Together movement and take part in Pride Marches nationwide on June 11
The Together Movement, symbolized by the “&,” represents the power of marginalized voices together. The blue “&” pins previously appeared at the MTV Movie & TV Awards worn by Emma Watson, Millie Bobbie Brown, Trevor Noah and the cast of “Stranger Things”; at the Academy Awards worn by Sting, Brad Goreski and Colleen Atwood; at the Independent Spirit Awards worn by cast members of “Moonlight”; and the 28th annual GLAAD Media Awards.