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.
Meanwhile, The Washington Blade looks at this growing movement.
Meanwhile, at the state level, new initiatives are emerging to establish carve-outs to civil rights and marriage equality laws to enable individuals or businesses to discriminate against LGBT people and their marriages on religious grounds. One such initiative underway in Oregon is concurrent with Oregon United for Marriage’s work to bring the issue of marriage equality to voters on Election Day this year. Anti-gay groups are working to place on the ballot at the same time a measure to allow florists, bakers and other businesses to refuse to participate in these weddings on religious grounds.
So who is shopping these bills around to all the red state legislatures? Anyone have any intel?