Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Update on Bills Considered a Threat to LGBTQ Tennesseans

Posted By on Tue, May 2, 2017 at 3:38 PM

click to enlarge bathroom7n-1-web.jpg
Tennessee's 2017 legislative session spawned six bills identified as discriminatory towards LGBTQ citizens by advocacy organizations like the Tennessee Equality Project, OUTMemphis, and American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee.

Dubbed the "Slate of Hate" by TEP, the six bills featured resurrected attempts to undermine marriage equality as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v Hodges in new and inventive ways.
The session also hosted this year's attempt to enforce which public restroom transgender adults and underage students can and cannot use.

With the 2017 session drawing to a close as early as next week, here's a full breakdown of the status of each bill in the Slate of Hate.

SB30/HB33 discussed under SB1085/HB1111: Sponsored by Sen. John Stevens and Rep. Andrew Ellis Farmer
As introduced, requires that undefined words be given their natural and ordinary meaning, without forced or subtle construction that would limit or extend the meaning of the language, except when a contrary intention is clearly manifest.

Status: Passed by both Senate and House, the next stop is Governor Bill Haslam's desk, where he will either sign it into law or veto it. Haslam has gone on record to say that he is deferring to the will of the legislators.

TEP is currently circulating a petition calling on Haslam to veto the bill, which they say has the potential to jeopardize same-sex couples' marital or divorce statuses, and child custody matters. The full implications of the bill are largely unknown.

SB771/HB8888: Sponsored by Se. Mae Beavers and Rep. Mark Pody
As introduced, requires students in public school and public institutions of higher education to use restrooms and locker rooms that are assigned to persons of the same sex as that indicated on the student's birth certificate.

Status: Failed in Senate Education Committee, unlikely to return this year.

SB127/HB54: Sponsored by Sen. Mark Green and Rep. Jason Zachary
As introduced, prohibits state and local governments from taking discriminatory action against a business based on that business' internal policies. Basically, if a business discriminates towards an LGBTQ individual, then they are protected in the state of Tennessee.

Status: Deferred to State Committee subcommittee for the first of 2018. Though it's not an absolute guarantee, legislators will often defer a bill to next year's subcommittee when they want it to die quietly.

SB752/HB892: Sponsored by Sen. Mae Beavers and Rep. Mark Pody
As introduced, enacts the "Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act", which states the policy of Tennessee to defend natural marriage between one man and one woman regardless of any court decision to the contrary.

Status: Deferred to a Civil Justice Subcommittee for the first of 2018. (See above)

SB1153/HB1406: Sponsored by Sen. Joey Hensley and Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver
As introduced, repeals statute that deems a child born to a married woman as a result of artificial insemination, with consent of the married woman's husband, to be the legitimate child of the husband and wife.

Status: This bill has been parked for a while in a Senate Judiciary Committee, and likely won't be heard again this session.

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