• Press Release- 01-14-2020 - Reaction to adoption bill






    Joe Woolley, CEO




    Tennessee Senate Passes Anti-LGBT Adoption Bill 

    Reputation and image of the state damaged on the first day of the legislative session, further economic impact yet to be seen.


    Nashville, TN - On the first day of the 2020 legislative session, the Tennessee State Senate passed HB 836/SB1304 which would allow taxpayer-funded child welfare services to discriminate against LGBT people, single parents, and people of minority faiths, among others. 


    HB 836/SB 1304 was one of many anti-LGBTQ bills pending this year that includes an anti-transgender bathroom bill, a bill to prohibit transgender student-athletes from participating in sports, a discriminatory preemption bill, and others still yet to be filed. The bill now goes to the desk of Governor Bill Lee, who has 10 days to veto or sign, or it becomes law without his signature.


    During floor debate, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers cited grave concerns from the business community about the impacts of this discriminatory legislation. The Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation has forecast a loss in revenue from upcoming conventions and meetings that have specifically cited bills like HB 836 as a reason to cancel such events.


    Joe Woolley, CEO of the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, released the following statement: “We are incredibly disappointed with state legislators that passed a clearly discriminatory law for no reason, giving the state an image of being unfriendly and harming our ability to attract businesses that need to be able to attract and retain the best talent to stay in and move to Tennessee. Passage of this bill will bring economic harm to our state, I hope this is the end to that harm but there are still more discriminatory bills that could be passed.” 


    Last year, major corporations in Tennessee warned lawmakers that discriminatory laws would risk tourism revenue, talent recruitment, and business investment in the state. Over 100 business leaders signed an open letter organized by the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Freedom for All Americans opposing the slate of anti-LGBTQ bills, including AllianceBernstein, Amazon, Bridgestone Americas, Dell Technologies, Genesco, Lyft, Nashville Predators, Nissan, Postmates, Salesforce, Tennessee Titans, Warner Music Group and many others. 


    Many of these companies and even more not listed opposed HB836 in the last few days leading up to the start of the 2020 session and they plan to continue to oppose any other legislation coming that is discriminatory and stops them from attracting and retaining the best talent 


    For more information and for businesses wishing to sign the open letter, contact joe@nashvillelgbtchamber.org