Nashville business leaders met secretly with religious right to plot demise of gay/trans rights law

We reported yesterday that FedEx, Nissan, AT&T;, Comcast, DuPont, Pfizer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Caterpillar, KPMG, Whirlpool, Embraer, Alcoa, and United HealthCare joined with the religious right in helping to overturn Nashville’s gay and trans rights ordinance (which will happen if the GOP governor doesn’t veto the legislation they just helped pass). We launched an action campaign to punish these companies and to force them to pressure the governor for a veto before it’s too late.

As further proof of these business community’s duplicity in this, we now learn of a secret meeting they held with the religious right to plot our political demise.

SB 632/HB 600, or the euphemistic “Equal Access to Instrastate Commerce Act,” passed the Senate’s State and Local Government Committee on Monday in a 6-3 vote. Among the delighted are the Family Action Council’s David Fowler, chief lobbyist for the bill, and House sponsor Glen Casada, who introduced the bill after a secret meeting with Nashville business- and religious-types at the Lifeway building downtown. There, the burgeoning coalition discussed ways to oppose Nashville’s nondiscrimination ordinance, which requires city contractors to adopt Metro’s policy of not discriminating against gay, lesbian and transgender workers.

Remember one thing. These companies aren’t just members of the Tennessee chamber of commerce. They’re all on the board of directors of the TN chamber. They run the TN chamber. And when the TN chamber came out swinging for the repeal of all municipal civil rights laws in the state, you’d better believe the Chamber’s board of directors were fully aware of what their own organization was doing.

Every single one of these companies is to blame for this bigoted piece of legislation. And when the religious right starts doing the same thing in other states, which they certainly will, FedEx, Nissan, AT&T;, Comcast, DuPont, Pfizer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Caterpillar, KPMG, Whirlpool, Embraer, Alcoa, and United HealthCare will all be to blame.

Please sign our open letter to these companies telling them they’d better make amends now.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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