So yesterday I wrote this post about this bill that basically says to a class of people “not only will the state of Tennessee not protect you, we won’t allow our Counties and Cities to extend any kind of protection to you”.
There are a lot of problems with the bill. One I addressed here regarding Home Rule Charters, and just how meaningless they become in the wake of this action. Another is related…hampering a government’s right to contract, which I touched on yesterday.
But yesterday’s post took a bit of a turn too far. I wanted to talk about ways to help those wayward Democrats who voted for the bill, and more importantly, their counterparts in the State Senate, find a way to support it. In doing so, I forgot the most important part…the part where we’re legislating discrimination.
Here’s exactly what the bill says about discrimination:
(1) No local government shall by ordinance, resolution, or any other means impose on or make applicable to any person an anti-discrimination practice, standard, definition, or provision that shall deviate from, modify, supplement, add to, change, or vary in any manner from:
(A) The definition of “discriminatory practices” in § 4-21-102 or deviate from, modify, supplement, add to, change, or vary any term used in such definition and also as defined in such section; or
(B) Other types of discrimination recognized by state law but only to the extent recognized by the state.
In short, as Rep. Richardson noted in the video clip I posted, no City or County in the state of Tennessee can do more than the state allows to protect a class of people.
So while that does impact the way a city or county might want to contract, and it does call into question just how much Home Rule comes with a Home Rule Charter, it ultimately negatively impacts the security of a person’s job based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
Somehow, I managed to leave that out in my 1000+ word screed, and it wasn’t until I read this post that I even realized it.
That’s a huge error on my part.
Finally, one more word about that post. Certainly, I would never mean to say people shouldn’t make their own decision about how to hold the people who voted for this bill accountable. God knows, I won’t be rushing out to volunteer, or send my money to support them…but I suspect they may not want my support.
I will, however, work to find as many reasons for someone to vote the way I want them to as I can find, even if that means deviating somewhat from the ultimate issue. If it changes even one mind to vote my way then that’s all the better.
But at the end of the day, I understand it’s not up to me. If these folks don’t think its important to protect all people from discrimination, I guess they’re not going to be making that case to their constituents. That’s not only unfortunate for their constituents who may be impacted by this legislation, it’s also unfortunate for them. Chances are they’re not making their case to their constituents on a whole lot of other issues, and that’s a sure fire way to lose.
It’s hard to lead when you’re afraid of your own shadow. No, it’s not hard…its impossible.