Both the proposed ordinance protecting LGBT city workers and the proposed resolution protecting LGBT employees of companies who contract with the city have been withdrawn from the city council agenda today, upon the request of the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP).
TEP Shelby County Committee vice-chair Michelle Bliss asked ordinance sponsor councilperson Janis Fullilove and other members of the council's personnel committee to remove the resolution this morning. TEP will also ask to remove the ordinance tonight at the full council meeting. The ordinance was scheduled for its second reading today.
Bliss told council members that TEP fears it will not get a fair hearing on the ordinance or resolution based on the way some council members treated the non-discrimination ordiance on its first reading at the last council meeting on August 10th. At that meeting, councilperson Barbara Swearengen Ware asked to pull the ordinance from the consent agenda to be discussed separately. Also at that meeting, councilperson Bill Morrison attempted to introduce a substitute ordinance that removed the words "sexual orientation," "gender identity," and "gender expression."
TEP Shelby County Committee chair Jonathan Cole said the organization will attempt to propose the ordinance again at a later date.
For more on this story, read my full report in the print edition of the Memphis Flyer on Wednesday.