Conservative local lawmakers are quietly expressing relief at Tuesday’s defeat of Senate Bill 2762, also known as the “Non-non-non Discrimination Bill”, as it means they won’t have to introduce the rumored “Non-non-non-non-times-infinity Discrimination Bill” in response.
“That really would’ve been the ‘nuclear option’, and nobody wanted to go there” noted Senator Colby Mathers of West Tennessee. “It’s important to take a stand sometimes, and let people know that tolerance just won’t be tolerated. If the Metro Government wants to be compassionate and treat everyone like they’re human and have value as a person, that’s their perogative, but they shouldn’t be allowed to make the rest of us act with compassion, too. I’m a Christian, God-da***t! That means my compassion is conditional! Legislating based on the religious beliefs of a portion of the state’s residents is our constitutional right.”
The issue at the center of the debate is a non-discrimination policy passed by the Metro Council and Mayor Karl Dean in April 2011, prohibiting businesses which contract with the Metro Government from discriminating against homosexual or transgendered persons in their employment practices. A month after the policy was put in place, a State Bill by Rep. Glen Casada (dubbed in the media as the “Non-non Discrimination Bill”, and properly known as House Bill 600) was passed, declaring that local governments couldn’t create or enforce a policy like Metro’s, except with their own employees.
HB600, which has been Tennessee Law since May of last year, would have been repealed this year through Sen. Jim Kyle’s bill SB2762, popularly referred to as the “Non-non-non Discrimination Bill”; that bill, however, was defeated in the Tennessee Senate’s State & Local Government Committee this past Tuesday by a vote of 6 to 2.
Had SB2762 passed, Sen. Mathers had already vowed to cancel it out with a “Non-non-non-non-times-infinity Discrimination Bill”, the legislative equivalent of the dreaded Triple-Dog-Dare. The last time a “times-infinity” bill was introduced in the legislature was in 1826 during the debate over whether Nashville or Murfreesboro should be the state capitol; debate over the “Nashville as Tennessee’s Capitol-Times-Infinity Bill” lasted an unprecedented 4 days, killing three State Represenatives, two State Senators, one Page, and a nearby herd of oxen in the process.
(Illustration found at http://www.newschannel5.com/story/14414046/mayor-dean-signs-non-discrimination-ordinance)