By Trudy Ring
Just after Tennessee lawmakers passed a “license to discriminate” bill covering adoption agencies, the measure’s chief sponsor wants to move forward with legislation that would undermine local efforts to support LGBTQ equality.
State Sen. Paul Rose, a Republican who calls himself a Christian conservative, is pressing the Senate to take up a bill, the Business Protection Act, which would prevent state or local governments from taking a company’s internal policies into consideration when making contracts or grants, or changing tax treatment. It means these governments could not, for instance, require that companies they do business with have LGBTQ-inclusive antidiscrimination policies — or offer health insurance or family leave or any number of other policies or benefits.
Rose said he doesn’t object to federal antidiscrimination law, which doesn’t cover employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (Tennessee law doesn’t either). “But there are some municipalities that have gone above and beyond, and really what they’ve said is if you’ve got a LGBTQ-friendly policy we’ll give you preference over another,” Rose told The Daily Memphian last week. “And to me, that goes above what the statute says. And it’s just wrong. The next time it could be we’re going to discriminate for another reason and put greater restrictions on you.”
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