Will Haslam Veto the Anti-Gay HB600? Nope. (UPDATED)

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... unless youre gay and happen to have a job.
  • ... unless you're gay and happen to have a job.
UPDATE: Haslam signed HB600 into law this afternoon, according to his press secretary. Pith has submitted questions to the governor's office and is awaiting a reply.

The state bill that would prevent Nashville and other Tennessee cities from enacting anti-discrimination policies to protect LGBT workers is now sitting on Gov. Bill Haslam’s desk. The governor has 10 days (minus Sundays) to decide whether to sign or veto the legislation. If Haslam takes no action, the bill becomes law by default after the 10-day period.

So what will the governor do? He’s not tipping his hand. According to press secretary Dave Smith, Haslam is treating Rep. Glen Casada’s boneheaded bill no differently than all the other bills piled up on his desk.

“Like the numerous other pieces of legislation passed toward the end of session, it is under review,” Smith told Pith in an email.

But as the Twitter campaign to compel Haslam to veto the bill continues, a number of companies with prominent Tennessee connections — members all of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which supported the discriminatory bill — are saying some variation of the same. Among them: Alcoa, AT&T, FedEx, KPMG, Nissan and UnitedHealth. Here are their statements, prompted by AmericaBlog Gay:

Alcoa’s is the most direct:

“Alcoa provides equal employment opportunity without discrimination and supports state and local legislation protecting the rights of all community members. We do not agree with the chamber on this issue and would ask that the governor veto the bill."

AT&T:

“AT&T does not support any laws or efforts that are discriminatory. AT&T does support the principals of ensuring that state and local laws are consistent, which is the stated purpose of HB 600/SB 632. However, the bill has become implicated in efforts to erode the rights of the gay community, which we do not support. AT&T has a long history and longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, and its policies address diversity in areas including race, creed, religion, sex, and particularly sexual orientation. In fact, DiversityInc has ranked AT&T in its Top 10 Companies for LGBT employees, and we were honored to be recognized as one of the ‘2010 Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality’ by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. We are proud of our commitment to this community.”

Nissan:

"Nissan has a long-standing commitment to providing a diverse, inclusive work environment for all stakeholders, including those who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender.

Nissan strives to develop, promote and recruit at all levels of the organization so that our workforce represents the diverse communities and customers we serve, and to create an internal environment where everyone’s background and perspective are respected.

In addition, all Nissan employees who are eligible for and enroll in company benefit programs may enroll a same-sex domestic partner for medical, dental and vision coverage, and same-sex domestic partners are eligible to participate in the company’s employee lease-vehicle program.

We believe that consistent statewide employment standards, rather than a cumbersome array of local laws and ordinances, are essential to maintaining our state’s economic competitiveness. However, HB600/SB632 has become more closely associated with eroding civil liberties than fostering a strong business climate and this we do not support.”

FedEx:

"FedEx values and promotes the unique contributions, perspectives, and differences of our team members worldwide. FedEx does not tolerate discrimination of any kind, and is committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

FedEx did not lobby for Tennessee SB632/HB600 — it is our policy not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

While FedEx is a member of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, we do not support every position proposed by the Chamber.”

KPMG:

"KPMG did not vote to support the Chamber's adoption of a policy to back this bill, nor do we support the legislation, the effect of which runs counter to KPMG's policies, core values and our long-standing support for diversity in the workplace in all its forms. KPMG fosters an environment of inclusion and we encourage our employees to share their views, sexual orientation and gender identity, broadening everyone's awareness of individual differences. We are proud of our record and the fact that Diversity Inc recently named KPMG the top firm for LGBT employees."


UnitedHealth:

“UnitedHealth Group believes in recruiting and retaining a workforce that mirrors the multicultural communities we serve. A mix of different backgrounds and perspectives helps us develop strong products and programs our customers need. As part of that commitment, UnitedHealth Group supports and offers domestic partner benefits. We did not lobby for nor support Tennessee SB632/HB600.

It is important to note that, as part of its standard benefit design, all UnitedHealthcare health insurance plans include coverage for domestic partners.

In addition, UnitedHealth Group is gratified to have received the highest rating, 100 points, on the 2011 Corporate Equality Index. Launched in 2002, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index became a roadmap and benchmarking tool for U.S. businesses in the evolving field of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in the workplace.”

Also, the Shelby City Council voted earlier this month to condemn the bill.

And finally, contact Gov. Haslam here.

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