Turns out some of the leading actors in Nashville polit-business don't like that. Predictably, neither do some Christian conservatives. So a couple of GOPers — state Rep. Glen Casada and state Rep./Metro Councilman Jim Gotto — participated in a meeting at LifeWay this morning organized by the Family Action Council of Tennessee to have a closer look. On the docket: the diabolical conflation of government observance of the conduct of businesses that accept taxpayer money, a certain biblical interpretation and the "homosexual agenda" (that's a quote from the email announcing the meeting, reproduced in full after the jump).
From Joey Garrison at The City Paper, who showed up at the meeting and had the door slammed in his face:
About 40 business leaders and other conservatives attended a Wednesday morning meeting organized at the downtown LifeWay building to discuss a bill sponsored by council members Jamie Hollin and Mike Jameson that would apply Metro’s current nondiscrimination policy to third-party vendors that do business with the city.
The Christian group Family Action Council of Tennessee organized the meeting. A reporter from The City Paper was not granted access to attend the gathering, and was asked to wait in the lobby.
The Action Council also passed out some interesting literature at the meeting, including "Two Proposed Responses" to the bill.
The first response is your typical big-business-is-being-victimized-by-an-overreaching-government narrative, with a vague nod to the Commerce Clause thrown in for good measure at a time when the Constitution is being bandied about as this country's primary pro-business document.
The second takes the more direct route:
The problem with the proposed ordinance is that it seeks to force every business owner and every group to believe the same thing about homosexual behavior, or at least act like it believes the same thing.
Garrison waited around until the meeting was over and tracked down Gotto, who hurriedly offered up his “... concerns how this [bill] will affect the business community and the ability to attract new businesses and increase the opportunities in Davidson County." He said the bill could have a "chilling effect" on local businesses currently pocketing your tax money.
Gotto and Casada are currently plotting a city-state alliance to defeat the bill, which is up for first reading at the Jan. 18 Metro Council meeting. Gotto is likely to try to kill the bill by calling for a vote on it at that meeting.
For a sense of the tone of this whole affair, here's the invitation that went out via email:
From: William Morgan
Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2011 5:34 PM
Subject: Urgent Meeting re: Metro Ordinance on Sexual Orientation
Lee Beaman, Stan Hardaway, Walter Strickland, Tom Smith and I are hosting a meeting next Wednesday morning, January 12th to inform you about an ordinance pending before Metro Council (launched due to the Belmont controversy and set for final vote on February 1st!) that, according to the City Paper, would require all businesses doing business with Metro "to have written policies that ban discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity" (i.e gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals and transgenders). I can assure you that the sponsors want it to apply to all subcontractors and sub-vendors that are a party to any Metro contract as well.
The meeting will lay out the wide-reaching impact of this ordinance, what can be done to defeat it, and the next item on the homosexual agenda if this passes (which is to require all businesses domiciled in Davidson County to adopt these same policies).
Our speakers will include Metro Councilman and State Representative-elect Jim Gotto, who will discuss the local government process, State Representative Glen Casada, who will address new legislation at the state level directed against this issue, and former State Senator David Fowler, President of the Family Action Council of Tennessee , who will lay out the not-so-apparent legal ramifications of such an ordinance and what we can do to oppose it.
The meeting will be from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. in the Nashville Room of the LifeWay Building located at One LifeWay Plaza (enter the visitors parking lot from 9th Avenue North, immediately on the left after crossing Commerce Street when coming from Broadway). Further directions are here. A continental breakfast will be served.
Because breakfast is being provided and there is limited room, please RSVP to me if you are coming so I can turn your name in.
If you know a business owner who you know would oppose this ordinance, please pass this invitation on them, but do ask them to RSVP to me.
This is an important issue against which we must take a stand together, so I hope to see you there.
William D. Morgan
John Bouchard & Sons Co.