Last night, the state House of Representatives passed HB600, dubbed the "Special Access to Discriminate Act" by equality advocates. It marks the first time since 2005 that anti-gay legislation has passed the Tennessee House.
If signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam, this bill would prohibit local governments in Tennessee from extending LGBT-inclusive workplace protections to the employees of government contractors. According to the Tennessee Equality Project, the act would repeal the recently-passed Contract Accountability Non-Discrimination Ordinance in Nashville. Shelby County does not offer protections to employees of government contractors, but it does have a non-discrimination policy for county workers. The city of Memphis has no protections in place for LGBT employees or contractors.
Colorado enacted similar legislation prohibiting governments from passing non-discrimination ordinances in 1992, but the legislation was overturned after costly court challenges.
Click here to sign a petition protesting the passage of the "Special Access to Discriminate" Act.