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Top 2018 legislative Issues: Tenn. LGBTQ priorities


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (HAGGARD) — The state assembly is back at work and WMOT is exploring the legislative priorities of leading stakeholders.

LGBTQ advocates were recently gearing up to fight another so-called bathroom bill. A bill, filed by Republican Rep. Gerald McCormick, sought to pay legal bills for school districts if they’re sued for requiring students to use the restroom matching their gender at birth. McCormick pulled the bill from the legislative agenda on Jan. 17.  Chris Sanders from the Tennessee Equality Project says the legislation would have set a scary precedent for transgender students.

“When the state sends a message that it’s OK to attack a group of people, what you find is that not only are their peers bullying them, but that gives teachers and administrators an excuse to do the same thing.”

Sanders says not all administrators and teachers would engage in that behavior, but he has seen it happen before.

“We certainly don’t need the state of Tennessee sending a signal to school districts that it’s OK to engage in this kind of discrimination — and to add further that we’ll pay the legal bill and provide for your defense, if you do it.”

In addition to the bathroom bill, the legislature is also bringing back last year’s Natural Marriage Defense Act. It would create a state law defining marriage as between a man and woman. 

This post has been updated to reflect that McCormick's bill was withdrawn from the legislative agenda.

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