Mayor Dean Signs CANDO into Law as GOP Pushes to Ban Cities' Anti-Discrimination Laws

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While GOP legislators push forward with legislation that would strip Tennessee cities of their ability to create anti-gay discrimination ordinances, Mayor Karl Dean signed just such a law into effect today.

Praising the Metro Council for showing "great leadership in initiating and passing this piece of legislation," Dean affixed his signature to Ordinance No. BL2011-838 — the CANDO ordinance that requires vendors who contract into business with the city to abide by its rules against GLBT workplace discrimination.

Dean was joined by Belmont benefactor and Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business namesake Mike Curb — who took opposite sides from the mayor on the Fairgrounds racetrack issue, but came down resoundingly in favor of GLBT workplace protection during the Lisa Howe flap at Belmont. In his statement, Curb, a former Republican lieutenant governor of California, took aim at state legislators working to undermine the still-drying law.

“The Republican Party has always stood for allowing decisions to be made by local governments and the argument that this bill is anti-business is no different than the same arguments people made years ago to prevent race and religion from being protected through anti-discrimination laws," Curb said. "But more importantly, the timing of the bill and the statements of the legislators involved is directly aimed at Nashville’s anti-discrimination measure."

Below, the full text of Dean's and Curb's statements.

Statement from Mayor Dean:

“The Council showed great leadership in initiating and passing this piece of legislation and I’m proud to sign it into law. Nashville has time and again proven we’re a city that doesn’t tolerate discrimination, and with this ordinance, we are once again sending the message that we truly are a welcoming and friendly place.

“I appreciate Mike Curb for joining me in the signing of this legislation today and for his thoughtful comments and leadership from his perspective as a successful business leader in our community and a former Republican Lieutenant Governor and Acting Governor of California.

“As for pending legislation at the state level related to this, I believe the decisions of locally-elected government bodies should be respected by the legislature. The passage of this legislation is consistent with actions taken by a number of cities in all parts of the United States. This is not the time to abandon our belief in local government.”


Statement from Mike Curb:

“The Republican Party has always stood for allowing decisions to be made by local governments and the argument that this bill is anti-business is no different than the same arguments people made years ago to prevent race and religion from being protected through anti-discrimination laws. But more importantly, the timing of the bill and the statements of the legislators involved is directly aimed at Nashville’s anti-discrimination measure. I worked with city council members to make sure that this measure did not impact churches, private educational institutions and charitable organizations, such as the Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and Junior Achievement.

“The most important part of this bill is letting the world know that Nashville is a city that does not discriminate and that everyone is welcome. In addition to the Music City Convention Center, we have the magnificent Gaylord convention facilities and incredible arts facilities such as the Schermerhorn Symphony Hall, Country Music Hall of Fame, the Frist Center and numerous other arts-oriented facilities that will be impacted positively by this measure.”

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