Two bills potentially harmful to the LGBT community were filed at the state legislature this week, and State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) and State House Representative Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) have sponsored both of them.
The first, the Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act (SB752/HB892), states:
the policy of Tennessee [is] to defend natural marriage between one man and one woman regardless of any court decision to the contrary
As the Nashville Scene rightfully pointed out, "this issue was already decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, as Trump has said he has no desire to re-litigate it, and as being on the losing side of that case cost Tennessee $2 million in legal fees. Oh, and when this bill was introduced last session, the fiscal note attached was $8.5 billion, and no, that is not a typo."
The second is a new transgender bathroom bill (SB0771/HB0888) that would:
require students in public schools and public institutions of higher education to use restrooms and locker rooms that are assigned to persons of the same sex as that shown on the students' birth certificates
Both are familiar to LGBT Tennesseans, given they were presented last year. The transgender bathroom bill was rescinded in April 2016 by its sponsor, representative Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet), who claimed after significant outcry from our community and its supporters that, "I have learned that our school districts are largely following what the bill says." The 2016 Natural Marriage Defense Act came and went rather quickly, having died in the Civil Justice subcommittee in late January.
The sponsor of this year's bills held a town hall meeting to answer constituent questions on the evening of February 9 in Mt. Juliet. Those who intended to voice their concern over these two bills left in frustration when they learned, at the beginning of the meeting, that Beavers and Pody would only answer questions regarding a gas tax. O&AN writer Eric Patton was present for the meeting and provided this video, which he posted live that night. Watch it here...
Watch Mae Beavers and Mark Pody try to explain themselves on the hateful bills they're backing in the legislature.Posted by Eric A. Patton on Thursday, February 9, 2017
Photo: Mae Beavers (in blue) and Mark Pody speak at a public forum February 9 at Mt. Juliet City Hall