There is still time for you to fight back against SB1297 (the unamended anti-transgender locker room bill) and SB134 (one of the adoption discrimination bills). But take action before 3:00 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday, March 26.
2. Make calls or leave messages to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Here's a script with office phone numbers for each senator.
3. Attend the committee meeting in RED on March 26 at 3pm Central Time in Senate Hearing Room 1 of the Cordell Hull Building in Nashville. RSVP at the link.
We are grateful for all you do to fight discrimination in Tennessee. You can make a financial contribution at this link.
Your resistance to the Slate of Hate in Tennessee IS having an effect, but we can't stop yet. Here's where the bills are and what you can do.
1. Moving. HB836, the discriminatory adoption bill, advanced from a House subcommittee and is up in the House Judiciary Committee this Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.
-Be a presence against the bill and Wear RED to the committee hearing. RSVP and learn more at the link.
-Make calls to the committee members who will vote on the bill and urge them to vote NO. Use this list and script.
-Email the whole House Judiciary Committee with this easy form.
2. Amended. HB1151, the anti-transgender locker room bill, was amended in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee last week to remove everything after the enacting clause in the bill, which means the portions of the bill targeting the transgender community. We need to monitor the amended bill throughout the process to make sure the amendment sticks. It is up for discussion in the same House Judiciary Committee meeting at 12:30 on Wednesday where the adoption discrimination bill is up for a vote. RSVP at the link.
3. Delayed. HB563, the Business License to Discriminate bill, was delayed last week after discussion on the House floor. We expect it to be up for a vote on Thursday.
-Find your State Representative by giving your street address at this link and then call your representative and say, "My name is ______________ from ______________. I am calling to ask Representative ________________ to vote NO on HB563 on the House floor. It takes important tools away from local governments and results in taxpayer funded discrimination. Thank you."
Speak up this week. Three discriminatory bills are up for a vote in the Legislature. Here's the calendar and what to do:
*Tuesday, March 12 at 9:00 a.m. One of the adoption discrimination bills (HB836) is up for a vote in the House Children & Families Subcommittee.
2. Wear RED and attend the hearing on Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. in Cordell Hulll House Hearing Room 2. RSVP at this link.
*Wednesday, March 13 at 3:30 p.m. The anti-transgender locker room bill (HB1151) is up for a vote in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.
2. Wear RED and attend the hearing on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in Cordell Hull House Hearing Room 2. RSVP at this link.
*Thursday, March 14 after 9:00. The Business License to Discriminate bill (HB563) is up for a vote on the House floor.
-Use this campaign to tell your member of the Tennessee House of Representatives to vote NO. When you put your address into the form, it will find your representative and generate an email.
Consider supporting our work financially at this link. We are grateful for all you do to fight discrimination in Tennessee.
So far, three anti-LGBTQ bills are up for a vote the week of March 3 in the Tennessee General Assembly.
The first is a bill that allows private adoption agencies to discriminate against parents based on the religious views of the agency. That hits LGBTQ parents and parents of different religions or no religion at all. Public policy ought to be based on the needs of the child and whether the parents can provide a loving home. Use this form to contact the subcommittee voting on the bill and urge them to vote NO.
The Business License to Discriminate bill is also up in the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday. Here's the new email campaign to oppose that bill.
On Wednesday the anti-transgender locker room bill is up for a vote. Take action against that bill at this link.
Be present at the hearings in red
We encourage you to attend these important votes. Wear red if you can to show that you are part of the group opposing these bills. Here are the Facebook events for each event. All of them take place in the Cordell Hull Building in Nashville:
Please, support our work with your contribution at this link. We are grateful for your support that allow us to keep you informed and work against these awful bills.
Members of the clergy residing in Tennessee endorse the following statement about anti-LGBTQ bills in the Tennessee General Assembly:
"As leaders of faith communities we oppose these bills in the Tennessee General Assembly. They promote discrimination rather than justice and demean the worth of LGBTQ people in our state. We call on people of good will to join us in speaking out for basic fairness."
The bills are:
SB848/HB1152 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Ragan and SB1304/HB836 by Sen. Pody and Rep. Rudd. These bills promote state-sanctioned discrimination by private adoption agencies against prospective parents on the basis of religious and moral objection.
SB364/HB563 by Sen. Gardenhire and Rep. Zachary. The Business License to Discriminate bill. The bill casts businesses rather than the LGBTQ community as possible victims of discrimination and opens the door to taxpayer funded discrimination.
SB1297/HB1151 by Sen. Pody and Rep. Ragan. While the bill seems to be about indecent exposure, it is a devious attempt to criminalize transgender and gender nonconforming people in restrooms and locker rooms.
SB1499/HB1274 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Holt. This bill requires the Attorney General to defend school districts that engage in anti-transgender bathroom discrimination.
SB1282/HB1369 by Sen. Pody and Rep. J. Sexton. The Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act is an attack on marriage equality.
Clergy wishing to sign should send an email with their name AND city of residence to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Rev. John Feldhacker, Nashville
Rev. Viki Matson, Nashville
Rev. Robert L. Early (ret.), Nashville
Rabbi Philip "Flip" Rice, Brentwood
Rev. Janet Wolf, Nashville
Pastor Greg Bullard, Madison
Rev. David E. McIntyre (ret.), Normandy
Rev. Wolf Cole, Savannah
Rev. Dr. Mary Louise McCullough, Nashville
Rev. Dr. Gordon D. Gibson, Knoxville
Rev. Jeff Briere, Johnson City
Rev. Susan Gardner (ret.), Hermitage
Rev. Cynthia Andrews-Looper, Gallatin
Rev. Brandon Gilvin, Chattanooga
Rev. William H. Berger, Franklin
Rev. Elaine Blanchard, Memphis
Rev. Tim Bath, Murfreesboro
Rev. April Baker, Nashville
Rev. Deborah Lynn, Nashville
Rev. Laura Bogle, Knoxville
Rev. Robert B. Coleman, Nashville
Rev. John Gill, Knoxville
Rev. Laura Becker, Chattanooga
Rev. Randy Shoun, Knoxville
Rev. Steve Wolf, Clarksville
Rev. Judi Hoffman, Nashville
Bishop Melvin G. Talbert (ret.), Hermitage
Rev. Theodore McKnight (ret.), Pleasant Hill
Rev. Dr. Brice Thomas, Nashville
Rev. Anne-Marie Zanzal, Nashville
Rev. Dr. Clay Thomas, Chattanooga
Rev. Paul Slentz, Nashville
Rev. RJ Powell, Knoxville
Rev. Carolyn Smith Goings, Ph.D., Dyersburg
Rev. Pamela Hawkins, Nashville
Rev. Dr. Diana L. Hynson, Nashville
Rev. Adam Kelchner, Franklin
Elder Blake Smith, Nashville
Min. Dahron Johnson, Nashville
Rabbi Joshua Kullock, Nashville
Rev. Mark C. Pafford, Smithville
Rev. James Bowman Harris, Cookeville
Rev. Ann McClure, Nashville
Rev. Beth Lefever, Memphis
Rev. Dr. Betty Dawson, Memphis
Rabbi Michael Shulman, Nashville
Rev. Michael Alford, Goodlettsville
V. Adrian Mehr, assistant clerk of the Memphis Friends Meeting (Quakers)
Rev. Becky Yates, Nashville
Rev. Carolyn Coleman, Nashville
Rev. Elliott Prigmore Lewis, Joelton
Rev. Phildora J. Prigmore Lewis, Joelton
Rev. Mark Miller-McLemore, Brentwood
Rev. Denise Gyauch, Nashville
Rev. Dr. Amy Mears, Nashville
Rabbi Katie Bauman, Memphis
Rabbi Micah Greenstein, Memphis
Rabbi Bess Wohlner, Memphis
Rabbi Sarit Horwitz, Memphis
Rev. Rob Van Ess, Memphis
Rev. Cheryl Cornish, Memphis
Rev. Gary White, Nashville
Rev. Dr. Jack Seymour, Nashville
Rev. Rebekah Gienapp, Memphis
Rev. Dr. Jonathan L. Jeffords, Memphis
Rev. Dr. LeNoir Culbertson,
Rev. Dr. Richard H. Gentzler, Jr., Gallatin
Rabbi Shana Goldstein Mackler, Nashville
Rev. Brandon Berg, Bristol
Rev. Mimi White, Memphis
Pastor Scott Wilks, Mountain City
Rev. Heather Harriss, Nashville
Rev. John Hill, Franklin
Rev. Carol Howard Merritt, Spring City
Rev. Brenda Carroll
Rev. Dr. Teresa Smallwood, Nashville
Dr. Joerg Rieger, Nashville
Rev. Billy Vaughan, Memphis
Rev. Darren Wright, Nashville
Rev. Paul R. Purdue, Nashville
Rev. Valerie Ohle, Knoxville
Rev. Dr. Herbert Lester, Jr., Nashville
Rev'd Timothy Holder, Elizabethton
Sandy Benson, Clerk, Memphis Friends Meeting
Rev. George R. Pasley, Martin
Rev. Amy C. Howe, Memphis
Rev. Brad Whitaker, Chattanooga
Rev. Jacob William Wood, Brentwood
Rev. April Berends, Chattanooga
Rev. Claire Brown, Chattanooga
Rev. J.W. Calhoun, Knoxville
Rev. Brian Davis, Chattanooga
Rev. Joe Woodfin, Chattanooga
Rev. J. Peter van Eys, Nashville
Rev. Ingrid McIntyre, Nashville
Rev. Cherie Parker, Nashville
Rev. Brandon Baxter, Nashville
Rev. Linda C. Parker, Nashville
Rev. Meredith Jane Day, Memphis
Minister Kaki Friskics-Warren, Nashville
Minister Bill Friskics-Warren, Nashville
Rev. Robert Galloway (ret.), Corryton
Rev. Dave McNeely, Jefferson City
Rev. Stephanie Dodge, Nashville
Rev. Susan Hay, Nashville
Rev. Dr. Sandy Shawhan, Bellevue
Rev. Vernon Denney (ret.), Nashville
Rev. Erin Racine, Nashville
Rev. Dr. Brian C. Wyatt, Elizabethton
Rev. Hope Hodnett, Nashville
Rev. Andrew B. Ward, Goodlettsville
Rev. Alaina Cobb, Chattanooga
Rev. Alison Lutz, Nashville
Rev. John M. McLean, Nashville
Rev. Catherine Clark Nance, Maryville
Rev. Jimmy Sherrod, Knoxille
Rev. William C. Stooksbury (ret.), Nashville
Rev. Edward Colf, Hendersonville
Deacon Ron Deal, Nashville
Rev. Allison Gossett, Nolensville
Rev. Ashley McFaul-Erwin, Nashville
Rev. Christy Jo Harber, Nashville
Min. Wesley King, Nashville
Rev. George Cunningham, Murfreesboro
Rev. Kristi Shay Moore, Nashville
Rev. Jeannie Alexander, Old Hickory
Rev. Joe Pfeiffer, Memphis
Rev. Victoria Rebeck, Nashville
Elder Matthew Paris Stewart, White Pine
Rev. Dr. Peggy L. Meade, Kingsport
Rev. Dr. Harry Lawrence (ret.), Chattanooga
Congregations endorsing the statement
Memphis Friends Meeting (Quakers)
RISE UP Community Church, Murfreesboro
Tennessee is consistently one of the top states for anti-LGBTQ legislation introduced every year. 2019 is no exception. Here is a list of bills to watch.
SB848/HB1152 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Ragan. This bills protects private adoption agencies that discriminate against prospective parents based on the religious or moral views of the agency.
SB1304/HB836 by Sen. Pody and Rep. Rudd. This bill is similar to the previous bill.
SB364/HB563 by Sen. Gardenhire and Rep. Zachary. The Business License to Discriminate bill. The bill casts businesses rather than the LGBTQ community as possible victims of discrimination. Government would not be able to disadvantage businesses in public contracts or grants if the internal policies of the business or nonprofit are discriminatory. In other words, it opens the door to taxpayer funded discrimination.
SB1297/HB1151 by Sen. Pody and Rep. Ragan. On its face, this bill seems to be about indecent exposure. But it is a way of criminalizing trans and nonbinary people in restrooms and locker rooms.
SB1499/HB1274 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Holt. This bill is similar to a bill last year that required the Attorney General to defend school districts that engage in anti-transgender bathroom discrimination.
SB1282/HB1369 by Sen. Pody and Rep. J. Sexton. The Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act is back. Earlier in the week, we saw evidence in the Cordell Hull Building that such a bill was being considered.
What to do:
Watch for social media and email alerts from TEP for specific action to take as the bills are moving through committee.
Consider attending the next Advancing Equality Day on the Hill on March 5. Email us at email@example.com if you want to attend or serve as a district captain.
Make a contribution to support our work. Professional lobbying and organizing to produce a coordinated effort is not free. Help us fight back.
Rep. Tim Rudd has filed a new bill protecting private adoption agencies, allowing them to turn away prospective parents based on the religious beliefs of the adoption agencies. HB836 is similar to bills that have passed in Kansas and Oklahoma.
The Human Rights Campaign and other organizations will join TEP in opposing this discriminatory legislation that does not put the interests of children first.
Take action and call on Rep. Rudd to withdraw the bill using the form at this link.
SB364/HB563, known as the Business License to Discriminate Bill, is back. The bill previously passed the Tennessee Senate in 2017, but it didn't move in the Tennessee House last year.
The bill automatically raises suspicions because it shows concerns about businesses being "discriminated" against by government, rather than the real discrimination endured by LGBTQ people. The bill opens the door to taxpayer funded discrimination against real people. If, for example, a business has a policy of not treating married same-gender couples the same as different-gender couples, government could not refuse to contract with them solely on that basis.
Equality advocates will be on the Hill on Feb. 5 working against the bill.
If you would like to support TEP's work, you can make a contribution at this link.
The upcoming state legislative session is really going to be different from the recent past. Why? Not only are most of the leadership positions in new hands, but about 1/4 of the members of the Tennessee General Assembly are new.
Why does that matter? It matters because many of them have probably never had a substantive conversation about LGBTQ public policy. They may know LGBTQ people and they may have read about the issues our community faces, but they have probably not sat down and talked in depth about legislation that could help or hurt our community.
So we have a major opportunity to shape their understandings. We need your help for that. Please, attend an Advocacy 101 session near you. Those are listed below. Think about becoming a district captain for one of the Advancing Equality Days on the Hill. Those are also listed below. If interested, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . And make your year-end contribution to the TEP Foundation at this link. Your contribution makes it possible for us to train and prepare advocates to talk with legislators about these vital LGBTQ public policy issues.
January 8: Murfreesboro Advocacy 101
January 12: Nashville Advocacy 101
January 15: Lunch orientation to the Cordell Hull Building
January 26: Cookeville Advocacy 101
January 28: Memphis Advocacy 101
January 30: Knoxville Advocacy 101
February 5: Advancing Equality Days on the Hill--Part 1
April 2: Advancing Equality Days on the Hill--Part 3
Here is an updated list of advocacy opportunities in the new year.
Attend Orientation: On January 15, we will have an orientation to the Cordell Hull Building in Nashville where legislative offices and committee rooms are located. This orientation is ideal for beginners. RSVP at the link.
Days on the Hill: Plan now to make the trip to Nashville at least once during the legislative session to speak in person with your legislators. We have three Advancing Equality Days on the Hill. Here are the dates and links so you can learn more:
If you are interested in being a district captain, which is a lead position for meetings with legislators, be in touch at email@example.com .
Postcard Writing: Prior to Advancing Equality Days on the Hill, we will attempt to hold postcard writing events on LGBTQ-related bills. The first Nashville event is Feb. 3 at Tribe. RSVP at this link. We are working on an event to be scheduled in Knoxville.
Advocacy 101 Sessions: We are planning these around the state, but if you want to help bring this preparatory class to your region, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Murfreesboro session is January 8. RSVP at this link. The Nashville session is January 12. RSVP at this link. The Memphis session is January 28. RSVP at this link. The Morristown session is tentatively January 21. We will update you as we have more information.
Contribute: Another way to help is to make a financial contribution so we can continue to invest in expert lobbying and the contact management systems that allow us to fight for equality in a professional and effective manner.
We are grateful for all your support, which grows the movement.