Tennessee governor signs bill to wipe out gay legal protection

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The governor of Tennessee has signed a bill which gay rights campaigners say will wipe out all any laws which protect LGBT people from discrimination.

Governor Bill Haslam signed the law yesterday. It bans cities and municipalities from making their own anti-discrimination ordinances and bans any area from having stronger protections than are available at state level.

The city of Nashville already has an ordinance banning discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender expression. This law will now be rendered void.

The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry initially supported the bill, saying it would help businesses in the state. However, it then reversed its position and now opposes the law.

Other large companies including Whirlpool, Fed-Ex and KPMG have also spoken out against the bill.

Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese said: “Discrimination should have no place in the Volunteer State and the Chamber’s opposition to this law sent a strong signal that corporations are on the leading edge of positive change.

“In contrast, Gov Haslam has put discrimination ahead of the state’s values and even business interests by signing this horrible legislation.”

Last weekend, the state Senate approved a bill to ban mention of homosexuality in schools.

The bill, known as the ‘don’t say gay bill’, will ban all teachers in public elementary and middle schools from talking about the subject.