Michael Cass over at The Tennessean's political blog reports that state Rep. Glen Casada plans to introduce legislation that would bar local governments from adopting nondiscrimination policies that address sexual orientation and gender identity. Obviously one can't make firm legal judgments about a bill that hasn't yet been written, but Casada and his fellow bigots perhaps should acquaint themselves with the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1996 decision in Romer v. Evans.
In Romer, the Court ruled unconstitutional a Colorado law prohibiting local governments in that state from outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation. The invalidated law, Amendment 2, was enacted in a 1992 ballot initiative by 53 percent of Colorado voters. Writing for a 6-3 majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy was clear and compelling in his majority opinion:
We cannot say that Amendment 2 is directed to any identifiable legitimate purpose or discrete objective. It is a status based enactment divorced from any factual context from which we could discern a relationship to legitimate state interests; it is a classification of persons undertaken for its own sake, something the Equal Protection Clause does not permit....We must conclude that Amendment 2 classifies homosexuals not to further a proper legislative end but to make them unequal to everyone else. This Colorado cannot do. A State cannot so deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws. Amendment 2 violates the Equal Protection Clause.
Just what we need: a newly invigorated GOP in the state House willing to squander the state's reputation (by showcasing bigotry to the rest of the country) and the state's resources (by passing a bill that will probably serve only to attract a costly and quite possibly successful legal challenge).