Senator Brian Kelsey has just introduced a bill to the Tennessee State Legislature that would allow any business or individual to legally discriminate against the LGBT community.
The text of Tennessee Senate Bill 2566 states that it “permits persons and religious or denominational organizations, based on sincere religious belief, to refuse to provide services or goods in furtherance of a civil union, domestic partnership, or marriage not recognized by the Tennessee Constitution.”
Unlike similar legislation in Kansas, the Tennessee bill doesn’t seem to allow the refusal of service simply because an employee doesn’t agree with a potential customer’s orientation or gender presentation, but opponents of the bill still object to the bill’s intent of legalizing a type of discrimination.
A spokesperson for the Tennessee Equality Project, Jonathan Cole, told FOX Memphis, “It’s bad for business. It’s bad for attracting talent that would be offered a job to come and work for a corporation here in Tennessee. When they see bills like this capturing the headlines, it really reflects poorly on the state.”
In response to the legislation, the TEP is giving local businesses stickers that read “Equality Means Business,” for those who want to show they don’t support the bill.
SB 2566 has been introduced in the House and Senate, but hasn’t yet been voted on; current information for the bill states that it has been placed on the Senate Judiciary Committee calendar for February 18.