General Assembly Adjourns Without Passing Anti-Gay Legislation



None of the anti-gay legislation on the table during the 106th Tennessee General Assembly was adopted before the body adjourned Thursday night, but several of the bills remain on hold until next session. A few pro-LGBT bills were also stalled. Here's a rundown:

* The "Don't Say Gay" Bill - Knoxville representative Stacey Campfield's bill that would have banned public school teachers from discussing homosexuality was sent to the state board of education for study. That board must report back to the General Assembly by March 2010.

* Adoption Bill - The bill banning unmarried, cohabiting couples from adopting children didn't make it through this session.

* Voter ID Bills - Bills that would require new photo identification to vote (and would likely have disenfranchised transgender voters) did not pass either. One such bill was passed in the Senate but voted down in the House.

* Hate Crimes Bill - Senators Beverly Marrero and Representative Jeanne Richardson's bill that would add gender identity or expression to the Hate Crimes Penalty Enhancement Act of 2000 was rolled until January 2010 to gather more support.

* Birth Certificate - A bill, also sponsored by Marrero and Richardson, that would repeal Tennessee's ban on gender changes on birth certificates didn't make it to passage this session, but advocates aim to continue pushing in 2010.

"Until January 2010, we get a reprieve from attacks on our adoption rights, voter I.D. bills that disenfranchise the transgender community, and the absurd Don’t Say Gay bill," said Tennessee Equality Project president Chris Sanders on the group's Facebook page. "Unfortunately the hate crimes and birth certificate bills didn’t pass this year. But we can expect all these bills—negative and positive—to be back in January."


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