Tennessee Gay Rights Law Quashes Nashville Ordinance

Wednesday, 25 May 2011 04:17 PM

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Gay rights groups are criticizing a Tennessee statute that prohibits localities from passing anti-discrimination policies that go beyond protections afforded by the state, The Wall Street Journal reports. Signed on Monday by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, the law doesn’t list sexual orientation among its provisions, thereby nullifying a Nashville gay rights ordinance.

Critics call the law homophobic and unconstitutional, and say they may sue to have it overturned. Supporters said it spares businesses from having to negotiate a patchwork of rules that can vary from place to place, and it gets the government out of dictating companies’ personnel policies.

The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce initially backed the bill but withdrew its support under pressure from member companies including the consulting firm KPMG.

“I don’t see how anyone can say this is good for our state or good for business,” said Jonathan Cole, board chairman of the Tennessee Equality Project.

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