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Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports Casada bill

Letter expresses support of legislation that would overturn Metro's new non-discrimination ordinance

May 4, 2011 O&AN Staff Reports   Comments

The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce has come out in support of a bill that would reverse Metro's ordinance barring discrimination against LGBT employees.

On April 25, House members voted 73-24 in favor of the proposed legislation (HB600). Sponsored by Republican Glen Casada of Williamson County, it would nullify a Nashville ordinance prohibiting companies that discriminate against gays and lesbians from doing business with the city. The companion bill in the Senate (SB 0632) is currently awaiting vote.

In his speech during that House session, Casada claimed that the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry had lobbied actively for the bill. Sponsors of the Metro non-discrimination law---Jamie Hollin, Mike Jameson, Erica Gilmore and Megan Berry---sent a letter to the organization inquiring as to their position.

Their response:

"Our support of HB 600/SB 632 is related solely to the issue of whether local governments should be able to enact laws that set employment law standards higher than, or different from, those at the federal and state levels. Our position is now, and has historically been, that employment standards from the government should be consistent across the state and not create an additional burden on companies that are endeavoring to be competitive and provide jobs to all Tennesseans based on their individual qualifications and merit."

Under state law it is illegal to discriminate against a person because of race, creed, color, religion, sex, age or national origin. On April 5, Metro extended those protected classes to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

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