Lawsuit to be filed over Tennessee’s anti-gay law

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A lawsuit will be filed against a new Tennessee law which bans employment protections for LGBT employees.

The law, signed by governor Bill Haslam this week, 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.

Local attorney Abby Rubenfeld is leading the fight against the legislation.

Ms Rubenfeld, a former legal director of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, told Channel 5: “It’s just silly, this is motivated by animosity towards the gay community, and the United States Supreme Court has made clear that this is not an acceptable basis for a statue.”

The law’s supporters claim it will make it easier to do business in the state. The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry initially agreed but has now come out against the legislation, as have AT&T, FedEx and Nissan.

“It’s completely unnecessary, no one has heard different businesses complaining that there are different rules,” Ms Rubenfeld said.

She added that it could impact on other groups, such as veterans and disabled people.

The lawsuit, drawn up with other gay rights groups, is expected to be filed in the coming weeks.

Governor Haslam said recently: “We are not in favor of discrimination – I want to be very clear about that. We are in favor of businesses deciding within federal laws what their policies should be.

“We just don’t think that local governments should set HR policies for businesses. “