Just a full Senate vote stands before the LGBT Erasure bill becoming law in Tennessee, barring a veto from the governor, and the Tennessee Equality Project is urging supporters to contact Senators to express opposition to the bill.
The bill will reach the full Senate floor Thursday.
Its companion bill in the House, HB1111, has already passed the full House; in a controversial move earlier this session, Republicans cut off debate prior to the vote in which they passed the bill. Last week, HB1085 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.
As introduced, SB1085 requires that "undefined words be given their natural and ordinary meaning, without forced or subtle construction that would limit or extend the meaning of the language, except when a contrary intention is clearly manifest."
Specifically, SB1085/HB1111 is a watered down version of the more explicit SB30/HB33, bills that flat-out stated "that the words 'husband,' 'wife,' 'mother,' and 'father' be given their natural and ordinary meaning." Due to widespread criticism, those bills were abandoned in favor of the more subtly worded language of HB1085/HB1111.
As O&AN reported in March just prior to the House vote, the Family Action Council's David Fowler confirmed these bills are exactly the "LGBT Erasure" proposals that we've feared. Too, he fully acknowledged the laws (if passed) would be unconstitutional. "This is an attempt to tell the court [that] when we use a word we mean for it to mean what everybody thinks it means and if that word makes the law unconstitutional, so be it," he said in this video.
The Tennessee Equality Project is urging its supporters to contact their Senator to remind legislators their job is to make laws and the role of the judiciary is to interpret laws, that the legislative branch should not attempt to tell judges what to do.
Specifically, the organization asks you consider this script:
"Senator ___________, my name is ______________ and I live at [street address, city, and Zip]. I am a constituent and I am asking that you not only vote against SB1085 on Thursday, but I want you to speak on the floor against it. The Attorney General's opinion indicates it is too risky and could lead to confusion for judges."