LGBT Erasure Bill filed in Tennessee

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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.

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  • commented 2017-04-27 14:28:44 -0500
    The natural and ordinary meaning of “husband” is a married man considered in relation to his spouse. Spouse is not limited to male or female. Additionally, why use husband or wife at all? Just use the term spouse.
  • commented 2017-01-17 18:02:12 -0600
    These conservatives are so scared that not having a law in place would somehow hurt them. This is just another solution in search of a problem. They are so scared that not having these crazy laws in place is somehow itself a law. In others words lack of a law is somehow a law. It is almost as if they think that if they don’t have a law in place “defining” these terms that they will have what? A mandatory gay wedding. Or That not having this law means they are now forced to start calling their wives their husbands. This is just more of the ultra right wingers crying “poor me I don’t understand something, so let me make life difficult for people who don’t fit into the little box I prepared for them in my little mind.”
  • commented 2017-01-15 16:56:58 -0600
    Clearly this shows the absolute bad intention of conservatives everywhere. Wouldn’t this bill cause problems for adoptive parents in general (gay or not) as well? Also Ragan’s response makes no sense – why pass this legislation almost 20 years after the ruling he references and why only apply it solely to gender and biology? It seems this is a slippery slope that may make this misguided congressman hoist on his own petard (not that he would get that reference of course).
  • commented 2017-01-14 23:36:48 -0600
    John Ragan is a dangerous homophobe. He continually presses to push through bills that setback and endanger us . I went round and round in emails with him last year and it was obvious that his main mission in politics is anything that’s anti-gay. He is a bitter bigot with no conscience and should be ashamed of himself. I have discovered that most of the people that vote for him don’t even know that his agenda is to legalize discrimination of the LGBT community! Amazing…….
  • commented 2017-01-13 09:31:52 -0600
    This was the response I received when I brought up concerns:
    Dear Mr. Brown,

    Thank you for contacting me on this issue. However, it appears your concerns may be misplaced.

    The bill about which you wrote is nothing more than simply putting into code a prior court decision based upon long-standing precedent. The legislature routinely passes bills based upon court decisions on a variety and number of issues for ease of reference, clarity, and other reasons.

    For your information: “`Legislative intent is to be ascertained whenever possible from the natural and ordinary meaning of the language used, without forced or subtle construction that would limit or extend the meaning of the language.’” Eastman Chemical Company v. Johnson, 151 S.W.3d 503 (Tenn. 2004) quoting Lipscomb, 32 S.W.3d 840, 844 (Tenn. 2000).

    I trust this has addressed your concerns.

    Regards,
    John D. Ragan
    State Representative

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