For immediate release: March 15, 2017
Contact: Chris Sanders, 615-390-5252 or firstname.lastname@example.org
TN House to vote on HB1111 with clear links to attacks on same-sex couples and LGBT parents: Video link included
Nashville, TN--The Tennessee House of Representatives takes up HB1111 by Rep. Andrew Farmer on Thursday morning, a bill the Tennessee Equality Project calls the “sneaky LGBT Erasure” bill because of its consequences for same-sex couples and LGBT parents.
The legislative summary reads: “As introduced, 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.”
The language is remarkably similar to SB30/HB33 whose summary reads: “As introduced, requires that the words "husband," "wife," "mother," and "father" be given their natural and ordinary meaning, without forced or subtle construction that would limit or extend the meaning of the language and that are based on the biological distinctions between men and women, except when a contrary intention is clearly manifest.”
“The similarities are not a coincidence. After the backlash that followed the obviously anti-LGBT SB30/HB33, there was a shift to HB1111,” notes Tennessee Equality Project executive director Chris Sanders. “And now we have clear evidence of the connection between the two bills in a video by Family Action Council of Tennessee. As well as being outraged by this attack on our relationships and our ability to be parents, we are disturbed that the organization lobbying for the bill is unconcerned that it is likely to be found unconstitutional.”
To see the video linking the bills, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4ZoHFLXrPc .
Tennessee Equality Project urges legislators to pause before rushing into an unconstitutional attack that would disrupt Tennessee families. The last time Tennessee fought marriage equality, the state was liable for legal bills of about $2 Million.
Over 80 Tennessee clergy have voiced opposition to HB1111 and other bills that are part of a “slate of hate” against the LGBT community. Find their names here.
Tennessee Equality Project is a statewide organization working the equality of LGBT Tennesseans. For more information, go to TNEP.org .
There are many ways to get involved and resist discrimination this month. Join us for one of these meetings and events.
*March 15. Gallatin. TEP Sumner County Committee meeting. RSVP at the link.
*March 16. Antioch. Lobbying 101. RSVP at the link.
*March 20. Nashville. TEP Nashville Committee meeting: Planning for action. RSVP at the link.
*March 22. Clarksville. TEP Montgomery County Committee meeting. RSVP at the link.
*March 23. Memphis. TEPizza Night. RSVP at the link.
*March 23. Murfreesboro. TEP Rutherford County Committee meeting. RSVP at the link.
*April 4. Nashville. Advancing Equality Days on the Hill. RSVP at the link.
Clergy wishing to add their names to this letter should contact us at email@example.com
As clergy serving the people of Tennessee, we oppose six pieces of legislation under consideration in the Tennessee General Assembly that attack the LGBT community.
The values of justice and hospitality compel us to speak out for the dignity of LGBT people and to oppose any effort to enshrine discrimination in the laws of our state.
We urge all people of goodwill to join us in seeking fairness for all residents of Tennessee and to consider the unacceptable ramifications of the following bills:
SB30/HB33. The LGBT Erasure Bill. By requiring that the words “father,” “mother,” “husband,” and “wife” be given their natural and ordinary meaning, this bill interferes with the identities and families of LGBT people.
SB127/HB54. The Business License to Discriminate Bill. This subtly worded piece of legislation actually opens the door to allowing businesses and nonprofits to discriminate in their HR and benefit policies while using taxpayer dollars.
SB752/HB892. The Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act states the policy of Tennessee to defend marriage as only between one man and one woman regardless of what the courts say.
SB771/HB888. The Anti-Transgender Student Bathroom Bill. This bill requires students to use restrooms according to the sex designation on their birth certificates and not according to their gender identity.
SB1085/HB1111. The Sneaky LGBT Erasure Bill. This bill does everything that SB30/HB33 does while trying to hide the effects upon the LGBT community from the public.
SB1153/HB1406. The Attack on Parenthood Bill. This bill repeals statute that deems a child born to a married woman as a result of artificial insemination, with consent of the married woman's husband, to be the legitimate child of the husband and wife. This bill is directed at lesbian couples and could affect other couples.
Rev. Ken Edwards, Old Hickory, Wilson County
Rev. Gordon Gibson, Knoxville
Rev. Dr. Diana L. Hynson, Nashville
Rev. Jake Morrill, Oak Ridge
Rev. L. Susan Bond, Jackson
Rev. Joe-d DowlingSoka, Chattanooga
Rev. Steve Wolf, Clarksville
Rev. Jeff Briere, Johnson City
Rev. Judi Hoffman, Nashville
Rev. Elaine Blanchard, Memphis
Rev. Brandon Gilvin, Chattanooga
Rev. Pamela Hawkins, Nashville
Rev. Rik Rouquie, Nashville
Rev. Annie McClure, Nashville
Rev. Paul Slentz, Nashville
Rev. Beth A. Richardson, Nashville
Rev. Tim Kobler, Knoxville
Rev. Emily Reeves Grammer, Madison
Rev. John Feldhacker, Nashville
Rev. Kevin Mitchell, Murfreesboro
Rev. Christine Grace, Chattanooga
Rev. Susan Gray, Nashville
Rev. Anna Golladay, Chattanooga
Rev. Steven Sherman Oak Ridge
Rev. Laura Bogle, Maryville
Rev. J. Peter van Eys, Nashville
Rev. David McIntyre, Normandy
Rev. Greg Bullard, Madison
Rev. Heather Harriss, Nashville
Rev. Jim Hughes, Nashville
Rev. Tim Bath, Murfreesboro
Rev. Cynthia Andrews-Looper, Memphis
Rev. Andrew Ward, Nashville
Rev. Dr. Patricia J. Pickett, Ashland City
Rev. Jim Sessions, Knoxville
Rev. Susan Crawford, Cordova
Rev. Karen Kastler, Hendersonville
Rev. Norman Cunningham, Crossville
Rev. Slade Kyle, Memphis
Rev. Terri Weaver, Memphis
Rev. Tommy Sheppard, Memphis
Rev. Sarah Osborne, Memphis
Rev. Buddy Stallings Memphis
Rev. Kira Schlesinger, Nashville
Rev. Eric L. Murray, Knoxville
Rev. Ginger Isom, Chattanooga
Rev. Dr. Bindy Snyder, Memphis
Rev. Jeffrey Radcliff, Kingston Springs
Rev. Wolf Cole, Savannah
Rev. Ken Carroll, Chattanooga
Rev. Michael Alford, Goodlettsville
Rev. Carolyn Dipboye, Oak Ridge
Rev. Larry Dipboye, Oak Ridge
Rev. Aimee Moiso, Nashville
Rev. James Pappas, Sewanee
Rev. Kimberly Rodrigue, Nashville
Rev. Rachel Pence
Rev. Leonard Curry, Hermitage
Rev. Jeannie M. Hunter, Madison
Rev. Debra Dickerson, Hixson
Rev. Katherine H. Smith, Nashville
Rev. Bryan Curie, Nashville
Rev. Dr. Dale P. Andrews, Nashville
Rev. Leyla K. King, Chattanooga
Rev. C. Nolan Huizenga, Nashville
Rev. John S. McClure, Nashville
Rev. Karen Neely, Norris
Rev. Taylor W. Dinsmore, Chattanooga
Rev. RJ Powell, Knoxville
Rev. April Baker, Nashville
Rev. Thomas Artist, Jr., Elizabethton
Rev. John Mark Wiggers, Knoxville
Rev. Deven Hazelwood Johnson City
Rev. Margaret K. Zeller, Kingsport
Bishop Patrick Potts, Johnson City
Rev. Shane Smith, Kingsport
Rev. Canon Dr. James F. Turrell, Sewanee
Rev. Neil K. Raman, Memphis
Rev. Cal Calhoun, Knoxville
Rev. Chris Harpster, Kingsport
Rev. Lee M. Ragsdale III, Knoxville
Rev. Isaac Blevins, Chattanooga
Chaplain Jon Coffee, Knoxville
Rev. Dr. James Hudnut-Beumler, Nashville
Rev. Jason Bennett, Murfreesboro
Rev. Joy Warren, Murfreesboro
Rev. Shirley Bowman, Murfreesboro.
Rev. Brian Merritt, Chattanooga
Rev. Sandy Prigmore Lewis, Joelton
Rev. Keith Caldwell, Nashville
Rev. Canon William A. Kolb, Memphis
Rev. Ingrid McIntyre, Nashville
Rev. Beth Lefever, Cordova
There are many things you can do to resist discrimination in Tennessee this week.
*Send a message to the Senate State & Local Government Committee against SB127, the Business License to Discriminate bill, using this form.
*Today (Monday) in Nashville at the Capitol. Attend the We Are Watching Rally at 3:30. RSVP and learn more at the link. TEP is grateful to the organizers for all their support.
*Today (Monday) in Franklin at 6pm. Attend the TEP Williamson County Committee meeting. RSVP here.
*Tuesday in Nashville at Legislative Plaza. Attend the Senate State and Local Government Committee hearing on SB127 wearing RED. The event begins at 10:30. RSVP here.
*Tuesday in Memphis. Attend the Trans Equality Rally at 4:30. RSVP and learn more from our friends at OUTMemphis here.
*Wednesday in Nashville at Legislative Plaza. Attend the House Civil Justice Subcommittee hearing on HB1111, the sneakier version of the LGBT Erasure bill and wear RED. RSVP and learn more at the link.
Yesterday the anti-transgender student bathroom bill (SB771/HB888) and the TN Natural Marriage Defense Act (SB752/HB892) were filed by Sen. Mae Beavers and Rep. Mark Pody. The bill filing deadline for Tennessee is today, so more could be coming. When the bills are up in committee we will ask you to contact those committees about the bills.
Here's what we need now:
1. If you can attending Advancing Equality Days on the Hill-part 2 on March 7, RSVP here. If you want to be a district captain who leads meetings with your legislators, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Here is a list of current district captains leading meetings for that date. If your senator or representative is not on the list, then we need you to help us fill out the schedule.
2. We have events coming up across the state including a Lobbying 101 in the Chattanooga area. Get involved in one of them. You can see the list here. We can always add more because we want advocacy to come to you and be accessible.
3. Consider making a small monthly contribution to fuel the defense of the LGBT community at this link.
What you can you do to resist discrimination in Tennessee? There are lots of way to get involved with many groups across the state. Here's a list of upcoming TEP events in East, West, and Middle Tennessee. Get involved. If there's not an event near you, contact us at email@example.com and we might be able to schedule one.
Feb. 8. Gallatin. TEP Sumner County exploratory meeting. RSVP at the link.
Feb. 14. Knoxville. A Sweet Date: Valentine's Day Mixer. RSVP at the link.
Feb. 19. Memphis. TEP Gumbo Contest. RSVP at the link.
Feb. 20. Nashville. TEP Nashville Meeting: Planning for Action. RSVP at the link.
Feb. 22. Collegedale. Chattanooga Area Lobbying 101. RSVP at the link.
Feb. 23. Murfreesboro. TEP Rutherford County Committee meeting. RSVP at the link.
Feb. 27. Franklin. TEP Williamson County Committee meeting. RSVP at the link.
March 7. Nashville. Advancing Equality Days on the Hill-Part 2. RSVP at the link.
March 9. Winchester. TEP Franklin-Coffee-Grundy-Marion Meeting. RSVP at the link.
April 4. Nashville. Advancing Equality Days on the Hill-Part 2. RSVP at the link.
If you would like to support our work with a small monthly contribution, you can do so at this link.
It appears the attacks on equality are coming soon at the federal level. We need you to speak out this week to defend equality before protections are taken away. Given the speed at which the new Administration works, preemptive action now is wise.
1. EEOC. Word came last week that the EEOC may pull back from a job discrimination case filed by a transgender woman. Contact the EEOC at firstname.lastname@example.org and urge the commissioners to continue pursuing cases of LGBT job discrimination. Sign our petition here. If it reaches 1000 signatures, we will deliver it to the Nashville EEOC office.
2. Turning a non-discrimination executive order into a pro-discrimination executive order. Former President Obama issued an executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by federal contractors. Reports indicate that the current President is considering an executive order that would allow religious-based discrimination in many areas and it would also undo the existing contractor non-discrimination executive order.
UPDATE: On Monday night, The New York Times is reporting that the Obama executive order protecting LGBT works will remain. But there could still be an executive order allowing religious-based discrimination against LGBT people. See the piece here. So we should still contact the President.
If you are on Twitter, consider sending a Tweet like this: @POTUS @realDonaldTrump : I oppose #LGBTQ #discrimination in executive orders.
You can use this form to contact the White House with the same message. Note: Because of the new "splash" page on the White House site, you may have to hunt for the contact form. It can be found under the "PARTICIPATE" tab.
*For Tennessee residents, there is a survey on sexual orientation discrimination issues being conducted by a graduate student. If you would like to participate, click here.
Thanks for all you do to advance equality.
Updated Activist Calendar
Fighting back against discriminatory bills takes more than a one-time hit. We have to sustain our opposition throughout the legislative session. We have a strong program of events coming up in Memphis, Knoxville, Murfreesboro, Sewanee, Clarksville, and Nashville starting next week. I hope that you'll join us for some of these events:
*January 17 in Murfreesboro. Lobbying 101. RSVP here.
*January 18 in Nashville. Lobbying 101. RSVP here.
*January 19 in Clarksville. TEP Montgomery County Committee meeting. RSVP here.
*January 21 in Nashville. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" An East Nashville Revue of Elton John to Benefit Tennessee Equality Project. RSVP here.
*January 24 in Memphis. Lobbying 101. RSVP here.
*January 26 in Knoxville. Lobbying 101. RSVP here.
*February 2 in Sewanee. TEP Franklin County Committee exploratory meeting. RSVP here.
*February 7 in Nashville. Advancing Equality Days on the Hill Part 1. RSVP here.
*February 19 in Memphis. TEP Gumbo Contest. RSVP here.
*March 7 in Nashville. Advancing Equality Days on the Hill Part 2. RSVP here.
*April 4 in Nashville. Advancing Equality Days on the Hill Part 3. RSVP here.
I am hopeful we will add February or March events in Franklin, Johnson City, and Chattanooga. If you would like to help with scheduling events in those cities or others, be in touch at email@example.com .
Thank you for all your support.
As we reported at 4:00 p.m. Central Time in the Tennessee Equality Project Facebook group, thanks to a tip from a friend in the Tennessee House, Rep. John Ragan filed HB33 today. The companion bill in the Senate is SB30 by Sen. Janice Bowling.
Here's what it does, according to the Legislature's website:
As introduced, requires that the words "husband," "wife," "mother," and "father" be given their natural and ordinary meaning, without forced or subtle construction that would limit or extend the meaning of the language and that are based on the biological distinctions between men and women, except when a contrary intention is clearly manifest. - Amends TCA Title 1, Chapter 3.
Such a bill would cause problems for same-sex parents, same-sex couples adopting children, and transgender and gender non-conforming people--basically anyone who doesn't fit more traditional meanings of husband, wife, mother, or father in a variety of situations in which the words are used in the law. The bill at worst erases our community and at best makes life difficult as we attempt to live our true gender identities and have our family relationships recognized.
It is similar to a bill that was filed last year, but never really acted on.
Many will remember Rep. Ragan's involvement in the last gasp of the Don't Say Gay bill a few years ago. You can find articles on that here.
Given the continuing wave of anti-LGBT legislation, we need your help now more than ever. Please, consider attending one of the events at the link that includes Lobbying 101 sessions and Advancing Equality Days on the Hill.
Also consider signing up to make a small monthly investment in TEP's work at this link.