Tennessee lawmakers pull transgender bathroom bill
Two bills that would have forced Tennessee transgender children into the bathroom aligned with their birth certificate, not their gender identity, were pulled by their sponsors this session. Activists and business owners are taking credit for the move, but other big players, such as Billy Ray Cyrus, also asked for them to pull the legislation.
“Tennessee lawmakers were wise to learn from the mistakes of North Carolina and Mississippi and halt this cruel legislation that would have only worsened the marginalization and harassment transgender students already face on a daily basis,” said HRC President Chad Griffin in a statement sent out today following news the bills would be pulled. ”Over the last weeks and months, a growing chorus of civil rights leaders, child welfare advocates, businesses, and fair-minded people spoke out and declared that transgender youth deserve our support, care and respect. We urge Tennessee lawmakers to reject any similar future proposals that would subject these youth to discrimination and fear.”
“The LGBT community and our allies never gave up in the fight against HB 2414 and today our efforts were rewarded,” said the Tennessee Equality Project Executive Director Chris Sanders. “We can build a culture of inclusion and acceptance in Tennessee.”
Concerns over the passage of the bill effecting TN’s federal school funding also played a role in denying the bill. Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III released an opinion earlier this month pointing to the specifics of both bills and how their discriminatory qualities could put the moneys in jeopardy. “As things currently stand, we must, as a practical matter, assume that H.B. 2414 would violate Title IX, because the enforcer of Title IX has clearly interpreted — and enforced — Title IX to prohibit as ‘discriminatory on the basis of sex’ what H.B. 2414 is designed to accomplish,” Slatery said in the opinion.
North Carolina considers to suffer fallout from the passage of HB2 which removed protections for LGBTQ employees in some city localities as well as forces transgender people into restrooms aligning with their birth gender. Equality North Carolina and the NC ACLU have joined in a law suit challenging the bill.
Virginia had its own, less publicized battle with a bathroom bill earlier this year during the 2016 General Assembly session. The bill would have forced transgender students and citizens into restrooms aligned with birth gender, but it was killed in house committee before getting a full vote.
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