Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Haslam has ignored some of his state's largest employers and signed a law that strips the power of local governments to create anti-discrimination laws that are stricter than the state's.
The law would effectively "void" a Nashville LGBT non-discrimination ordinance "that required contractors with the city to agree to follow [its] rules barring discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgendered people," reports The Tennesseean.
The 2009 ordinance that passed in Nashville covering city employees reamins in effect.
The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry originally lobbied for the bill. Nissan, Alcoa, AT&T, Comcast, DuPont, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Caterpillar, FedEx, United HealthCare and Whirlpool sit on the executive committee.
LGBT netroots activists have pressured companies to distance themselves from the legislation. The TCCI reversed its position earlier today.
"The Tennessee Chamber supports a standard regulatory environment at the state level as opposed to potentially conflicting local regulations covering employment practices," the executive committee said in a statement released late Monday. "That principle was the only interest the Chamber had in this bill. Because (the bill) has turned into a debate on diversity and inclusiveness principles, which we support, we are now officially opposing this legislation in its present form."
Tennessee is one of almost 30 states that have no statewide protections for sexual orientation or gender identity.
It's been a busy week for the homophobes at the Tennessee state house. Only days ago, the Senate voted 20-10 for the outrageous "Don't Say Gay Bill" which would prohibit any discussion of homosexuality before high school. That bill is likely dead for the year because the House version was withdrawn.