William Vilk

  • signed Urge Gov. Haslam to protect LGBTQ state government employees 2018-12-29 07:02:05 -0600
    William W Vilk

    Urge Gov. Haslam to protect LGBTQ state government employees

    Outgoing Ohio Governor John Kasich recently signed an executive order barring discrimination against state government employees on the basis of gender identity.  Discrimination based on sexual orientation was already banned. 

    Outgoing Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam could do the same for our state government employees.  Sign the petition and urge him to protect LGBTQ state government employees by executive order.  If we get 1000+ signatures, we will deliver them to the Governor's office. 

    642 signatures

    Dear Governor Haslam,

    We urge you to sign an executive order protecting Tennessee state government employees from job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the same protections that Ohio state government employees enjoy thanks to the recent executive order signed by outgoing Ohio Governor John Kasich.

    Employees of our public colleges and universities already enjoy these projections as do the public employees in Metro Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis, and Knox County.  Everyone deserves the opportunity to work without the fear of discrimination. 

    Thank you for considering our views.

    Add signature

  • signed Governor Haslam, Veto SB1085/HB1111 via 2017-04-30 15:01:23 -0500

    Governor Haslam, Veto SB1085/HB1111

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    Add your name and urge Governor Haslam to veto SB1085/HB1111, the Sneaky LGBT Erasure Bill.  After you sign the petition, share it with your friends.  We will deliver a hard copy of the signatures to the Governor's Office.  Your voice can help determine whether he uses the VETO pen or the BECOMES LAW pen!

    5,721 signatures

    Dear Governor Haslam,

    We ask you to veto SB1085/HB1111.  This bill, as the Attorney General has noted, is broadly written.  Its vagueness could result in conflicts with existing laws about judicial interpretation.  These conflicts are likely to cause discrimination against LGBTQ people, particularly with respect to marriage, adoption, and legal documents.  This bill risks subjecting Tennessee to the same scrutiny that North Carolina has received.  We cannot afford hundreds of millions of dollars in economic boycotts and sanctions.  Please, veto this bill so we can avoid judicial chaos and costly discrimination.  Thank you for considering our views.

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  • LGBTQ open letter to our fellow Tennesseans

    664 signatures

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    An open letter from Tennessee's LGBTQ community to our fellow Tennesseans

     

    As members of the LGBTQ community, we write to our fellow Tennesseans a month after the election and a month before the upcoming state legislative session.

     

    In recent weeks members of our community have experienced grave assaults on our safety and dignity.  A gay, gender nonconforming man was murdered.  A transgender woman’s car was burned. The signs and doors of a church that affirms our community have been vandalized.  A gay couple received a package with a knife sticking out and a message attached urging them to leave the state. 

     

    These attacks upon individuals and institutions have put our lives and safety at even greater risk than usual.  They contravene the welcoming traditions of hospitality for which Tennessee is known.  

     

    The time we have entered is critical.  Many are calling for healing in the wake of a divisive election. Healing is difficult while fresh wounds are being inflicted such as discriminatory state legislation.

     

    So we are speaking out for our safety, dignity, and equal rights under the law.

     

    Our struggle is not against your values, unless you value discrimination.  LGBTQ Tennesseans are your neighbors, your family members, your health care providers, firefighters, grocery clerks, teachers, elected officials, and we fill many other roles vital to the life of small towns and large cities.  Many of us grew up and continue to be active in the same faith communities as you.  

     

    In the long story of our community’s struggles, we have relied on our own strength to sustain us.  We have also experienced the joy of  working with countless allies.  Now is a time for allies to speak out with us and we  invite people of good will throughout the state to build a stronger, inclusive, welcoming Tennessee to meet our state’s common challenges together.

    If you share these values and priorities, we invite you to add your name to this letter.

    Add signature

  • signed No Discrimination in Federal Contracts! 2016-05-20 15:36:51 -0500

    No Discrimination in Federal Contracts!

    In late April the U.S. House Armed Services Committee voted to undo President Obama's non-discrimination executive orders for federal contracts via the Russell amendment.  This amendment is part of the National Defense Authorization Act. 

    Removal of the President's executive orders on non-discrimination would be a disaster for LGBT people in states like Tennessee that lack employment protections covering sexual orientation and gender identity. 

    Please, sign this petition to Tennessee's two U.S. Senators and nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives and we will make sure copies are sent to their offices.

    554 signatures

    Dear Senators Alexander and Corker and Representatives Roe, Duncan, Fleischmann, Desjarlais, Cooper, Black, Blackburn, Fincher, and Cohen:

    We oppose the Russell amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act and similar efforts to reverse President Obama's executive orders on employment non-discrimination for federal contractors.  Protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is important to Tennesseans.  Thank you for considering our views.

    Add signature

  • No special legislative session for bathroom discrimination!

    On the evening of May 17, The Tennessean and The Commercial Appeal reported that legislators are considering a special legislative session to take up a new effort to pass a statewide anti-transgender bathroom discrimination law.  Sign YOUR name to the statement below and we'll deliver your signatures to legislative leaders:

    1,073 signatures

    Dear Speaker Ramsey and Speaker Harwell:

    We oppose a special legislative session to consider an anti-transgender bathroom discrimination law.  It is never justified to spend the state's time and money to advance discrimination.  Thank you for considering our views.

    Add signature

  • Defend Diversity at UT-Knoxville: Veto SB1912

    The Legislature passed SB1912/HB2248 that removes funding from the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.  Sign this petition that we will deliver to Governor Haslam asking him to veto the bill.

    2,096 signatures

    Governor Haslam, we call on you to veto SB1912/HB2248 and protect the University of Tennessee-Knoxville's Office for Diversity and Inclusion.  The office plays a vital role in making the university competitive for the best students, faculty, and staff and it makes campus life welcoming for all.  Thank you for considering our views.

    Add signature

  • VETO Hate Bill 1840, the Counseling Discrimination bill

     

    Please, add your voice and urge Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to veto this discriminatory bill.

    4,239 signatures

    Dear Governor Haslam,

    We urge you to veto HB1840, which allows counselors to turn away clients based on the counselor's biases and values.  This bill puts the focus on the desires of counselors rather than on the needs of clients, damaging the counseling profession and putting clients at risk. 

    An anti-bullying amendment was stripped from the bill in the House Health Committee leaving youth vulnerable in areas where mental health services are not widely available.

    Thank you for considering our views.

    Add signature

  • donated 2014-12-15 10:56:59 -0600

    Matching our Moment

    $5,255.00 raised
    GOAL: $4,000.00

    Generous anonymous donors have come forward and offered to match all donations to the TEP Foundation between NOW and 11:59 p.m. Central Time on December 31!  That means that your gift is doubled and your impact for advancing equality in Tennessee is doubled. 

    C A N  W E  M A T C H  O U R  M O M E N T ?

    Matching Our Moment...Marriage equality is on its way to Tennessee, but what happens when a lesbian working at a company with no non-discrimination policy puts a picture of her wife on her desk?  We've made progress in our cities, but too often hate violence erupts in the very cities where we've passed non-discrimination ordinances and partner benefits.  And while the adults start to get legal protections, LGBT students in Tennessee are left behind--bullied at schools and in some cases driven out of their homes by parents who refuse to accept them because their minds have taken in hateful messages.

    Our Moment is one of opposition, one of need, and most of all, one of opportunity.  Can we match our moment? 

    Your tax deductible contribution to the TEP Foundation by December 31 helps us do just that.  You can give online or send your dated check in a post-marked envelope to P.O. Box 330895  Nashville, TN 37203.

    Matching Our Opposition:  We face two kinds of opposition in Tennessee.  There is the very well-funded public arm of opposition in the form of far Right lobbying groups that seek to promote a culture of fear and intolerance in congregations, in the media, and in our Legislature.  And then there is more diffused kind of opposition--a sermon that seems to come from out of nowhere, an outrageous remark by a county commissioner, or a store that refuses to serve a transgender person.  The TEP Foundation's programs through diversity training, media engagement, and Equality Means Business help shape Tennessee's culture with the values of equality and inclusion.  When you invest in equality in Tennessee, you give us a fighting chance against the opposition.

    Matching Our Need:  The data on bullying in our schools tells the story.  The Tennessee Department of Education revealed there were over 5400 confirmed cases of bullying in Tennessee schools in 2012.  National data consistently shows Southern states are underfunded by significant percentages.  LGBT people and our allies need victories, however small, and we need hope so that victories can grow.  TEP Foundation programs like SAFE (Schools Are For Everyone) Tennessee assist GSAs, help communities deal with bullying, and help citizens engage their school boards with solutions. 

    Matching Our Opportunity:  Potential allies are all around us.  Meaningful victories are within reach.  How we handle the first days of marriage equality in Tennessee can set the stage for a safer, more inclusive Tennessee for all of us.  When you support TEP Foundation programs like Tennessee Ready for Marriage on DAY ONE and Equality Means Business you give allies concrete ways to show their support and grow the movement.  We are grateful for your support.

    Donate

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