A setback for equality in the mid-South. The Tennessee Senate overwhelmingly passed 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 covers contractors, reports the AP.
The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet was approved on Thursday. The companion bill passed the House 73-24 last month. Lawmakers must now work out differences before the measure goes to the governor for his consideration.
The Nashville ordinance prohibits companies that discriminate because of sexual orientation or gender identity from receiving city contracts. It does not apply to local governments' hiring policies for their own workers.
The vote was 19-8, reports The Tennessean. The bill was passed only five weeks ago by the Metro Council.
Metro Councilman Jamie Hollin supported the ordinance and was outraged at the vote. "This is nothing more than homophobia hidden behind a red herring argument of protecting business," he said. "If they really are concerned with homogeneity for businesses in Tennessee, they would pass a law that requires uniform zoning statewide."