In May, the Tennessee legislature passed a bill dubbed the “Special Access to Discrimination” (SAD) Act that prohibits municipalities from creating non-discrimination protections for the LGBT community. Conservatives advanced the legislation after Nashville passed such protections earlier this year, effectively overriding them. Equality advocates are now suing to overturn the law, arguing it was designed to illegally discriminate against LGBT people as opposed to protect businesses from “burdensome” regulation, as lawmakers argued. Documents obtained in the suit now show that the Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT) and Southern Baptist Convention were scripting the debate, rooting their arguments in anti-LGBT bias. FACT president David Fowler wrote the following to state Sen. Mae Beavers (R):
FOWLER: The bill itself is not that complicated. We don’t need more regulation of business and business sure doesn’t need the 348 different cities coming up with their own ideas of what a discriminatory practice is. That’s the line and you just repeat it like Glen Casada did last night when the bill passed the House 73 to 24.
Will the homosexuals be upset? Sure. But to be honest, they seem to be rather resigned on this bill.
This is hardly new for Fowler. FACT initially opposed Nashville’s non-discrimination protections, alleging that transgender people were child predators who were going to use the protections to molest children in public bathrooms. When insurance provider BlueCross BlueShield started enforcing its own non-discrimination protections, Fowler protested that the company was promoting “cultural acceptance of homosexual conduct.” There’s no shortage of evidence that FACT is motivated by anti-gay and anti-trans animus, and if Fowler was literally scripting the debate on the bill, plaintiffs should have a compelling case to make against the law.