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MOTION DENIED: Lawsuit Against Sec. Tre Hargett’s Voter Registration Criminalization “SCHEME” Allowed to Proceed

A federal judge today said a lawsuit from the League of Women Voters, the American Muslim Advisory Council, Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, Rock the Vote, Memphis Central Labor Council, and Headcount challenging Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s new voter registration criminalization bill – which passed this past session despite outcries from protestors about the constitutionality – is allowed to proceed, striking down Hargett’s motion to dismiss the suit.

The bill came on the heels of the Tennessee Black Voter Project registering over 90,000 voters in 2018, a fact Hargett insisted had no bearing on his decision to push it through. A likely story.


U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger expressed much skepticism of Hargett’s bill in the decision, essentially pointing to all the things those who spoke out against the bill warned about during discussion of the bill in the legislative session, including the chilling effect it would have on voter registration efforts.

As Judge Trauger says:

“Restricting voter registration drives in order to try to preserve election commission resources is like poisoning the soil in order to have an easier harvest.”

She wondered about some key elements of the bill, for instance why people who are getting paid to registered voters should be subject to requirements those working for free would not be subject to:

“The Act’s two-tiered system both lack justification in its own right and undermines any claim that its provisions are truly necessary.”

Judge Trauger also says there is “no basis for requiring registration workers and volunteers mandatory government training.”

She went on to talk about the punishments leveled by the bill against registration workers, saying that it “punishes a person for doing too much of something it requires them to do” by essentially requiring them to turn in forms even if they’re incomplete – something many, including Senator Jeff Yarbro, pointed out during committee.

Judge Trauger notes that the punishment for turning incomplete forms is not levied on a % basis, but on a total basis of over 100 incomplete forms, which means “the result is The Act holds an organization to an increasingly more onerous standard the more effective it is at recruiting new voters.”

Which is likely EXACTLY the intention of the bill.

The Bill also imposes an additional penalty in each county where the violation occurred, which Judge Trauger pointed out is especially onerous and flies in the face of the interest of the state in actually registering voters.

That assumes the state is actually trying to register MORE voters, but more and more it seems Tennessee is perfectly fine being at the very bottom in voter turnout and voter registration.

Judge Trauger then points out how vulnerable these voter registrations are financially, since they are not backed by large and wealthy institutions, and says that the grand total of the penalties amounts to them being “attacked from all sides.”

She calls it a “complex and punitive regulatory scheme”, instead suggesting public education rather than an “intrusive prophylactic scheme true bad actors would likely evade regardless.”

At the end, Judge Trauger uses the exact language used by opponents of the bill to allow the suit to continue, pointing out that it will have a “chilling effect” on voter registration – which we have heard from groups registering voters in Tennessee is happening already.

Here’s the ruling in its entirety

Justin Jones FIERY NAACP Award Speech

“We need to get that monument to the KKK out of our state Capitol… I encourage you to challenge not only Trump, but his enablers in Congress… they’re bringing us back to a time we don’t want to go to.”

Watch Justin Jones receive an award at an NAACP dinner, and bring the thunder as he often does.

Channel 5 On Casada-Jones “Special Prosecutor” Craig Northcott Defying SCOTUS

Channel 5’s Report on Coffee County D.A. Craig Northcott defying the Supreme Court by refusing to recognize Marriage Equality.
 
Northcott is now overseeing the Speaker Glen Casada-Justin Jones Case. CAIR & Tennessee Equality Project have both called on him to resign. He previously made deeply Islamophobic comments on Facebook.
 
We initially broke this story… holler at Northcott HERE: 931-723-5057

Casada-Jones “Special Prosecutor” Northcott Won’t Recognize Same-Sex Marriage, Defying Supreme Court

We previously revealed that Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott, special prosecutor on the Glen Casada-Justin Jones case, made deeply Islamophobic Facebook comments, and continues to hold those views.

The Holler has now unearthed video in which Northcott says that despite a 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, he refuses to recognize it as the law of the land, won’t prosecute same-sex domestic assaults as “domestic” cases, and even encourages county clerks not to process same-sex marriages – saying he would use his “prosecutorial discretion” to make sure they aren’t charged.

VIDEO:

One of the most explosive scandals in the scandal-tornado surrounding Tennessee Speaker of the House Glen Casada – who has said he will be resigning his speakership possibly as soon as next week – has been the possibility that his office falsified the date on an email to frame civil rights activist Justin Jones, to show that Jones violated a no-contact order and have him thrown in jail.

Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk recused himself from that case, saying that because he was the recipient of the email in question he couldn’t be impartial.

The Casada-Jones case then went to the Tennessee Attorneys General Conference, which sent it to a “special prosecutor” – Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott.

Recently The Holler revealed deeply Islamophobic Facebook comments by Northcott in which he referred to the Islamic faith as “evil” and equated it with the KKK and the Aryan Nation, while also saying there are “no constitutional rights”, only rights bestowed upon us by the “One True God”.

Our report prompted formal complaints from Muslim rights groups CAIR and AMAC calling for Northcott’s resignation.

As it turns out, Muslims may not be the only community who have reason for concern with Northcott.

We’ve just discovered the above video from March of 2018, at the Chafer Theological Seminary Pastor’s Conference, in which Northcott gives an hour-long speech about “The Local Church’s Role in Government”.

After his speech, Northcott is asked what a Christian county clerk who is against gay marriage should do when a same-sex couple shows up for a marriage license.

The questioner asks:

“Let’s say the federal government does something ridiculous like legalize gay marriage, and you’re a Christian county clerk working in a marriage license office… (joking) this is all hypothetical… and you refuse to follow the federal law, and the matter gets Brought to the district attorney. Whoever that might be. How as Christians do you think we should deal with all those situations?”

Northcott begins his answer by questioning the authority of the Supreme Court:

“5 people in black dresses rule us.”

He says that with the Obergefell V. Hodges ruling, in which the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples, and required all 50 states to perform and recognize the marriages on the same terms and conditions as the marriages of opposite-sex couples, the Supreme Court was “legislating policy”:

“If you ever read their opinion, they don’t base it on the constitution, they don’t base it upon law, they don’t base it on anything… They start in the very first paragraph by saying ‘we think it is a better policy for homosexual marriage to be legitimized, therefore we’re gonna rule this way.”

Actually, Obergefell V. Hodges was based on both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In fact, the very first paragraph does talk about the constitution- in fact, the very first two words  of Justice Kennedy’s opinion are “The Constitution”.

Northcott then goes on to address the *hypothetical* situation about the Christian clerk faced with a decision about whether or not to issue a same sex marriage license. He makes it clear he doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage as a prosecutor, and advises the clerk not to “succumb” either. :

“As to the clerk, it just boils down to are you gonna do what God says? Or are you gonna do what man says? And the clerk will probably lose their job either immediately or through election if they take a stand on God’s Truth. We are not saved from the consequences of standing on the truth… that would be my advice to the clerk: Don’t succumb.

As to what a District Attorney like him would then do to the clerk, he points to “prosecutorial discretion” and the “unfettered” authority D.A.’s have as a way for him to avoid punishing Christian clerks:

“D.A.’s have what’s called prosecutorial discretion. Y’all need to know who your D.A. is – y’all give us a LOT of authority whether you know it or not… we can choose to prosecute anything, and we can choose not to prosecute anything, up to and including murder. It’s our choice, unfettered, so to deal with that you elect a good Christian man as D.A. and they’ll make sure that they at least don’t get prosecuted criminally.”

Northcott explains that the Supreme Court decision affected his profession in ways many people don’t realize, particularly concerning “domestic assault” charges, which carry heavier punishments than “simple assault” charges. Because treating assault charges between same-sex couples as “domestic assaults” would be to recognize same-sex marriage, Northcott says he does not, and accuses the Supreme Court of “social engineering”:

“So the social engineers on the Supreme Court decided that we now have homosexual marriage. I disagree with them. What do I do with domestic assaults?… The reason that there’s extra punishment on domestic assaults is to recognize and protect the sanctity of marriage. And I said there’s no marriage to protect. So I don’t prosecute them as domestics.”

He implies this isn’t the only way this view affects his work, saying “that is one of many decisions like that that you face (as a D.A.)”, and adds “you need someone who will do an evaluation on those terms in making those decisions” – which appears to mean voters should elect Christians who will similarly disobey Supreme Court rulings when they believe the rulings go against “God’s Truth”.

Northcott then finishes his answer by returning to the hypothetical clerk, saying not only would he not prosecute her, he’d embrace her:

“If your specific situation came to me I’d pat her on the back, give her a hug, and say ‘go at it.'”

The rest of Northcott’s speech about the role of the church in government makes it clear he doesn’t believe the “lie” about separation of church and state, and quite the contrary believes “government was created by God” and therefore church and state are inextricable:

He says only faithful Christians should hold public office as “ministers of God”, and that the role of the churches is to prepare those “faithful men” to hold those positions:

He also goes on to talk about the “Religious Test” which remains in the Tennessee constitution to this day, and in his eyes means that only Christians should serve in office in the state:

“The founders of the state of Tennessee recognized that only Christians could adequately understand and implement the purpose of all government offices. It’s still in our constitution.”

Article 9, section 2 of the Tennessee constitution does in fact say:

“No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.”

But while “No person who denies the being of God” seems to rule out only atheists, Northcott insists the clause refers to “the God of the Gospel… the only One True God”… and hopes “one of those crazy groups that hates religion” doesn’t figure it out and sue to have the clause removed.

Northcott adds:

“If there are no faithful Christians, there’s no one out there to elect and to hold these offices.”

He also tacks on a few words for the media, who he says are in the “back pockets” of “unfaithful men”:

When you get a faithful man into office and he takes principled stands, guess who’s gonna be upset? All those unfaithful men. Well guess who they’ve got in their back pocket? The media. All the most vocal enemies of Christ are in their back pocket. So what happens? The faithful man gets attacked from all sides. Everything is misconstrued, give you half the information… I don’t know if you realize this, but the media twists things and have an agenda they want to promote.”

He says if Christians step out of government, other “enemies” will fill in:

“Atheists, humanists, Muslims… If we step out, we turn it over to the Enemy.”

And adds at the end that churches should essentially tell their congregations who to vote for:

“Knowing who your political leaders are is a form of worship. If you are going to elect ministers of God, I think it’s up to the church to make sure those in their congregation are informed on that decision.”

The LGBT community doesn’t appear to be the only victims of Northcott’s “prosecutorial discretion”. In 2016 there was an incident in Coffee County in which police responded to a domestic dispute during which a woman named Cindy Lowe had been badly bruised and beaten, but Northcott appears to have used his “prosecutorial discretion” to drop the charges against Joseph Floied, seemingly because Floied is related to Adam Floied, assistant chief of the Manchester Police Department.

Here are some graphic pictures from the incident, posted by Lowe on Facebook:

And this is a Facebook post from Lowe after our previous article about Northcott’s Islamophobia:

It’s worth pointing out that in 2000, the Supreme Court of Tennessee had this to say about the role of “public prosecutors” and “prosecutorial discretion” in our judicial system, saying that it should be used “without discrimination or bias”:

Tenn. R. Sup.Ct. 8, EC 7-13.

In short, public prosecutors hold a unique office in our criminal justice system.   Contrary to the State’s contention on appeal, prosecutors are expected to be impartial in the sense that they must seek the truth and not merely obtain convictions. They are also to be impartial in the sense that charging decisions should be based upon the evidence, without discrimination or bias for or against any groups or individuals.  Yet, at the same time, they are expected to prosecute criminal offenses with zeal and vigor within the bounds of the law and professional conduct. See Berger, 295 U.S. at 88, 55 S.Ct. at 633.

As for the issue of same-sex marriage domestic violence, an American Bar report on the domestic violence “epidemic” in America tells us domestic violence is in fact a major issue in the LGBT community:

“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) people experience domestic and intimate partner violence and sexual violence at rates similar to or higher than heterosexual and/or cisgender people… studies confirm that significant numbers of transgender people are subjected to intimate partner violence… Unfortunately, in a number of jurisdictions people who are abused by a partner of the same legal sex are unable to access vital legal protections.”

Northcott was recently selected by the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference to be a member of the group’s legislative committee, which advises the Tennessee General Assembly regarding laws and issues concerning criminal justice and public safety. This is the second year Northcott has been asked to serve on the committee.

If you agree LGBT people should be afforded the same protections as everyone else in America, and that District Attorneys should not be disregarding Supreme Court rulings and taking the laws of the land entirely into their own hands while hiding behind “prosecutorial discretion”, Holler at District Attorney Northcutt HERE: 931-723-5057

And if you have concern about Northcott’s ability to handle his duties regarding the Jones-Casada case, or any other case, Holler at the Tennessee Attorneys General Conference to express them HERE: grjones@tndagc.org

Lastly, and importantly, if you’re in Coffee County, and you believe Northcott may have mishandled your case, email us at TheTNHoller@gmail.com – we have some people you should talk to.

 

Hargett’s Voter Registration Criminalization Bill Passes TN House Despite Protests | TN Holler

Despite protests, yesterday Tennessee House Republicans passed HB 1079 – which would make it the first state to criminalize voter registration efforts… just 6 months after the Tennessee Black Voter Project registered 90,000.

The vote was 71-26, with Republicans voting for and Democrats voting against.

Watch the VIDEO:

Here’s our previous article about the topic.

SB 971 now awaits a vote in the senate. Holler at your state senators, Governor Lee, or Secretary of State Tre Hargett.

Reps Weaver & Love Face-Off Over Child Suspensions & Expulsions And Science

With black kids being expelled & suspended at alarming rates, Rep. Harold Love’s bill for teachers to at least consider a child’s home environment before expelling/suspending them meets resistance from Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, who skeptically asks why anyone would use science when it comes to bad behavior and thinks the problem may be that teachers aren’t allowed to discipline:

“Some of these kids need a spanking.”

The bill moved on to full committee. Watch the HIGHLIGHTS:

“Small Government” TN House GOP Overrules Police Oversight Board Authority

Debate moves to the full Tennessee Senate

A proposal to eliminate subpoena power from police community oversights boards passed the Tennessee House on a 66-26 vote, with 65 Republicans voting in favor plus one Democrat: Rep. John Mark Windle (D-Livingston).

4 Republicans voted against: Rep. Martin Daniel (Knoxville), Rep. Bill Dunn (Knoxville), Rep. Jeremy Faison (Cosby), and Rep. Justin Lafferty (Knoxville).

Rep. John DeBerry (D-Memphis), who has previously supported School Vouchers and voted in favor of the Heartbeat Bill, was marked “Present but not voting”.

A police community oversight board has operated — with subpoena power — in Knoxville, Tenn. for two decades with no interference from the state legislature. State lawmakers only seem to take notice when Nashville voters approved a ballot initiative to create a new community oversight board in November.

The legislation, HB0658/SB1407, falls into a trend where the majority party in the state – which fancies itself “small government” when convenient – strips power away from local governments by changing or blocking city decisions through new state law.

Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville, District 50, took issue with state lawmakers changing the rules after local governments and voters took action.

“Overturning elections just because you don’t like the results is not what this body is meant to do,” Mitchell said.

Here’s our previous article on this issue. Call your senators if you agree non-Nashville legislators shouldn’t be overriding something Nashville voted overwhelmingly in favor of.

How they voted: Full House of Representatives, March 14;
Representatives voting in support of bill:
Rep. Charlie Baum, R-Murfreesboro, District 37
Rep. Clark Boyd, R-Lebanon, District 46
Rep. Rush Bricken, R-Tullahoma, District 47
Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro, District 71
Rep. Kent Calfee, R-Kingston, District 32
Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, District 29
Speaker Glen Casada, R-Franklin, District 63
Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, District 64
Rep. Mark Cochran, R-Englewood, District 23
Rep. John Crawford, R-Kingsport, District 1
Rep. Michael Curcio, R-Dickson, District 69
Rep. Clay Doggett, R-Pulaski, District 70
Rep. Rick Eldridge, R-Morristown, District 10
Rep. Ron Gant, R-Rossville, District 94
Rep. Johnny Garrett, R-Goodlettsville, District 45
Rep. Bruce Griffey, R-Paris, District 75
Rep. Curtis Halford, R-Dyer, District 79
Rep. Mark Hall, R-Cleveland, District 24
Rep. Kirk Haston, R-Lobelville, District 72
Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, District 5
Rep. Patsy Hazelwood, R-Signal Mountain, District 27
Rep. Esther Helton, R-East Ridge, District 30
Rep. Gary Hicks, R-Rogersville, District 9
Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, District 7
Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville, District 3
Rep. John Holsclaw, Jr., R-Elizabethton, District 4
Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, District 76
Rep. Dan Howell, R-Cleveland, District 22
Rep. Bud Hulsey, R-Kingsport, District 2
Rep. Chris Hurt, R-Halls, District 82
Rep. Curtis Johnson, R-Clarksville, District 68
Rep. Kelly Keisling, R-Byrdstown, District 38
Rep. Sabi Kumar, R-Springfield, District 66
Rep. William Lamberth, R-Portland, District 44
Rep. Tom Leatherwood, R-Arlington, District 99
Rep. Mary Littleton, R-Dickson, District 78
Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, District 57
Rep. Pat Marsh, R-Shelbyville, District 62
Rep. Debra Moody, R-Covington, District 81
Rep. Jerome Moon, R-Maryville, District 8
Rep. Brandon Ogles, R-Franklin, District 61
Rep. Dennis Powers, R-Jacksboro, District 36
Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, District 33
Rep. Jay Reedy, R-Erin, District 74
Rep. Tim Rudd, R-Murfreesboro, District 34
Rep. Iris Rudder, R-Winchester, District 39
Rep. Lowell Russell, R-Vonore, District 21
Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton, District 77
Rep. Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, District 25
Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Bean Station, District 35
Rep. Paul Sherrell, R-Sparta, District 43
Rep. Robin Smith, R-Hixson, District 26
Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna, District 49
Rep. Bryan Terry, R-Murfreesboro, District 48
Rep. Rick Tillis, R-Lewisberg, District 92
Rep. Chris Todd, R-Jackson, District 73
Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton, District 31
Rep. James “Micah” Van Huss, R-Gray, District 6
Rep. Kevin Vaughan, R-Collierville, District 95
Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster, District 40
Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, District 83
Rep. Sam Whitson, R-Franklin, District 65
Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville, District 42
Rep. Dave Wright, R-Corryton, District 19
Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville, District 14

Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, District 41

Representatives voting No against the bill:
Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, District 51
Rep. Karen Camper, D-Memphis, District 87
Rep. Jesse Chism, D-Memphis, District 85
Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, District 55
Rep. Barbara Cooper, D-Memphis, District 86
Rep. Vincent Dixie, D-Nashville, District 54
Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Nashville, District 56
Rep. Yusuf Hakeem, D-Chattanooga, District 28
Rep. G. A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, District 93
Rep. Jason Hodges, D-Clarksville, District 67
Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, District 13
Rep. London Lamar, D-Memphis, District 91
Rep. Larry Miller, D-Memphis, District 88
Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville, District 50
Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis, District 98
Rep. Jason Potts, D-Nashville, District 59
Rep. Jason Powell, D-Nashville, District 53
Rep. Johnny Shaw, D-Bolivar, District 80
Rep. Rick Staples, D-Knoxville, District 15
Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, District 52
Rep. Dwayne Thompson, D-Cordova, District 96
Rep. Joe Towns, Jr., D-Memphis, District 84

Rep. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville, District 18
Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, District 16
Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, District 11
Rep. Justin Lafferty, R-Knoxville, District 89

Present Not Voting:
Rep. John DeBerry, D-Memphis, District 90

Absent or Missed Vote:
Rep. Dale Carr, R-Sevierville, District 12
Rep. Jim Coley, R-Bartlett, District 97
Rep. Andrew Farmer, R-Sevierville, District 17
Rep. Darren Jernigan, D-Old Hickory, District 60
Rep. Harold Love, Jr., D-Nashville, District 58
Rep. Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville, District 20

EXTENDED VIDEO: What Really Happened At The Byrd Hearing

There have been many reports about what happened when Speaker Casada had trooper drag peaceful women out of a committee meeting presided over by Rep. David Byrd, who has admitted on tape to sexually molesting high school girls he coached.

Casadas office released a statement saying the women were “disrupting the legislative process” – here’s extended video that proves that statement to be false.

Please watch and share… and the women would like you to know they will be at the next Byrd hearing Tuesday at 4pm at the Cordell Hull building, and would love you to join them.

‘CAPITOL’ OFFENSE: Casada Chief of Staff Fibbed About Emails Before Clash

At the capitol on Thursday, Speaker Glen Casada had a run-in with a group of young engaged and active citizens who have become regulars in the halls of the Tennessee legislature expressing their disgust with the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the KKK, which is still featured prominently in the lobby.


The group had been trying to schedule a meeting with Casada for weeks. In emails obtained by The Holler, Justin Jones, one of the leaders, emails Casada and his chief of staff Cade Cothren with reporters copied on the email asking to schedule 20 minutes for the group to come in and plead their case for why the bust should be removed:

After repeated attempts to communicate, Cothren finally responds to an email saying “it looks like we can get you in during the first week of March”:

Jones then immediately responds affirming that date works, and asking for Casada’s position on the bust so they can be prepared when they get there:

A few days go by with silence from Cothren, so Jones replies again:

Two days later, on Thursday, the group showed up in the lobby to talk to Cothren in person. The video can be seen below, in which Cothren asks to see Jones’ phone, then tells Jones he had the spelling of “capitol” wrong in his emails and makes the claim that that’s why he hasn’t responded.

As you can see in the emails above, that simply is not the case.

The claim is even more preposterous considering Jones was responding to an email Cothren had already sent.

In the video, Jones then sees Casada coming down the stairs and asks him directly for a meeting, to which Casada replies “we’re meeting!” before pushing Jones, who had slid in front of Casada’s path, aside.

Troopers then forcibly removed Jones from the door Casada disappeared behind as Jones shouted through it.

Nobody was hurt, and things immediately calmed down as Jones and fellow protestors, including Jeneisha Harris, talked to the troopers, who assured them they were there to protect everyone.

As they talk to the trooper Rep. David Byrd can be seen walking by, which Jones points out might be something they should be more concerned with considering he has apologized on tape for sexual misconduct with high school players he coached, as CNN pointed out yesterday.

Casada can be seen in one of our previous videos about that topic lying on tape about meeting with those victims also. Anyone else sensing a theme here?

If you are, holler at Casada HERE to tell him and his office to stick to the truth, meet with the protestors, pull down the bust, and get rid of Rep. David Byrd, the admitted sex offender Casada promoted to chair of an education subcommittee.

HERE WE GO AGAIN: TN Republicans Unleash Slew of Anti-LGBT Discrimination Bills

This week Tennessee Republicans have introduced a handful of bills that seek to legalize discrimination against Tennessee’s marginalized communities, targeting LGBT people specifically.

Up first, “The Business License to Discriminate Bill” is back. It passed the Tennessee Senate in 2017, but didn’t move in the House last year.

The bill – SB364/HB563 – put forth by Senator Todd Gardenhire and Rep. Jason Zachary, would:

“prohibit state and local governmental entities from taking discriminatory action against a business based on that business’s internal policies.”

By defending businesses from “discrimination” rather than people, what the bill really seeks to do is allow businesses to do the discriminating against marginalized communities without worrying about losing government contracts – which would essentially amount to taxpayer-funded discrimination against marginalized groups such as LGBT people, Muslims, etc.

As Chris Sanders of the Tennessee Equality Project puts it:

“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.”

Meanwhile, on the adoption front, multiple bills filed this week would allow adoption agencies to deny services to same-sex couples based on religious objections.

According to The Tennessean:

One bill, SB 0848/HB 1152, filed by Sen. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, and Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, specifies that an adoption agency would not be required to provide services to a couple if it would conflict with the agency’s “sincerely held religious beliefs,” and prevents the state or a local government from taking adverse action against the group.

Legislation filed by Rep. Tim Rudd, R-Murfreesboro, puts in place similar protections for discrimination based on religious beliefs and would prevent a couple from suing the adoption agency for refusing to provide services.”

Got that? One says the couple can’t sue, the other says the government can’t sue. Taken together, these two bills would allow adoption agencies to discriminate with impunity.

As Senator Joey Hensley openly admits:

“We were concerned that adoption agencies, such as religious adoption agencies, would be required to allow adoption when they had religious beliefs that contradicted certain lifestyles. That they would be forced to allow adoptions to people they felt were not appropriate parents, so we didn’t want those agencies to not be able to provide adoptions.”

Not “appropriate” parents. Meanwhile studies show children have just as much chance to thrive with “certain” parents as with straight parents, and the number of children being raised by “certain” parents is in the hundreds of thousands.

More good information can be found here.

The Human Rights Campaign and other organizations will join the Tennessee Equality Project in opposing this discriminatory legislation that Sanders says “does not put the interests of children first”.

It should be about the kids who need loving homes, not the bigotry of a few GOP legislators. If you agree, holler at GardenhireZachary Hensley, Ragan, Rudd and let them know what you think.