The bill, endorsed by the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, denies local units of government the opportunity to decide if discrimination is wrong.
Clearly based in anti-LGBT sentiment, the bill comes after the city of Nashville passed an ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Today, Tennessee’s largest businesses, including Alcoa, Federal Express, and AT&T have publicly stated their opposition to this discriminatory bill.
“This bill is not only discriminatory in nature, but also goes against the old Republican value that what’s good for business is good for the country,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “The fair-minded people of the Volunteer state are above anti-LGBT discrimination and so are the major businesses that call Tennessee home. We are happy to have these corporations join us in the call for fairness.”
Tennessee-based major corporations have made the following public statements in opposition to SB 632/HB 600:
“Alcoa provides equal employment opportunity without discrimination and supports state and local legislation protecting the rights of all community members. We do not agree with the chamber on this issue and would ask that the governor veto the bill.”
“FedEx values and promotes the unique contributions, perspectives, and differences of our team members worldwide. FedEx does not tolerate discrimination of any kind, and is committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. FedEx did not lobby for SB632/HB600 – it is our policy not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. While FedEx is a member of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, we do not support every position proposed by the Chamber.”
“AT&T does not support any laws or efforts that are discriminatory. AT&T does support the principals of ensuring that state and local laws are consistent, which is the stated purpose of HB 600/SB 632. However, the bill has become implicated in efforts to erode the rights of the gay community, which we do not support. AT&T has a long history and longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, and its policies address diversity in areas including race, creed, religion, sex, and particularly sexual orientation. In fact, Diversity Inc. has ranked AT&T in its Top 10 Companies for LGBT employees, and we were honored to be recognized as one of the ‘2010 Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality’ by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. We are proud of our commitment to this community.”
Currently, more than 135 cities and counties have passed ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, with more than one-sixth of those cities and counties located in southern states.
HRC applauds the efforts of the Tennessee Equality Project, the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, and the City of Nashville to defend against this unwarranted state intrusion into local affairs. During the course of this campaign, HRC contributed $10,000 to support the Tennessee Equality Project and asked its members and supporters in the state to contact state lawmakers in opposition to the legislation.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.