House GOP and Tennessee's largest companies split over LGBTQ legislation

May 1, 2019

House Speaker Glen Casada
Credit tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- State House Republicans Tuesday passed a bill that opponents say targets transgender students in spite of opposition from some of Tennessee’s largest companies.

West Tennessee Republican Andy Holt sponsored the bill. He explained the measure would require the state Attorney General to represent school districts in court should they be sued for adopting exclusionary bathroom policies.

“They (school leaders) are scared to implement a policy that bifurcates male and female bathrooms" Holt said, "because they’re afraid that if they implement a policy of this nature that they’ll be sued.”

Amazon and the Tennessee Titans are among several companies that have signed on to an open letter condemning the legislation.

On the final day of the NFL Draft event in Nashville the Titans released a statement panning the anti-LGBTQ legislation, writing that such bills weaken “our ability to recruit new business and industry to Nashville and to Tennessee.”

Republican state House Speaker Glen Casada this week responded by lashing out at the companies who signed the letter. The Tennessean quotes Casada saying “They should take care of their stockholders and not get so much involved in politics."

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce quickly challenged Casada’s comments, writing the discussions around the legislation “are perfectly legitimate opportunities for the business community to engage and advocate for their workforce.” The Chamber went on to say its members opposed “discriminatory legislation.”

The full state Senate takes up consideration of it’s version of the so-called "transgender bathroom bill" on Wednesday.