FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2021
Lindsay Kee, ACLU-TN, (615) 320-7142
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee sent a letter today to Governor Bill Lee urging him to veto legislation that would unconstitutionally discriminate against transgender people in public schools and businesses.
“Transgender people are part of our communities, and they must be treated with respect and dignity, just like everyone else,” said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU of Tennessee executive director. “Bills like these attempt to not only erase trans people, but to embed discrimination against them into state law. We urge Governor Lee to protect all Tennesseans by vetoing this dangerous, unconstitutional legislation.”
SB 1224/HB 1182, as amended, requires businesses and other entities that open their facilities to the public and that have gender neutral restrooms, or even that have gendered restrooms and allow transgender people to use the restroom that aligns with their gender, to post a government-prescribed message stating, “THIS FACILITY MAINTAINS A POLICY OF ALLOWING THE USE OF RESTROOMS BY EITHER BIOLOGICAL SEX, REGARDLESS OF THE DESIGNATION ON THE RESTROOM.”
If a school has a policy allowing transgender students or staff to use the restroom that aligns with their gender, SB 1367/HB 1223 would authorize any student or employee who believes they have been in a restroom or locker room at the same time as a transgender student or employee to file a lawsuit against that school.
The letter sent today states that SB 1367/HB 1223 “violates the United States Constitution, as well as Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act.” The letter continues, “SB 1224 is impermissible compelled speech, in violation of the First Amendment, and raises substantial due process and equal protection concerns.”
The letter calls on Governor Lee to “embrace and protect all Tennesseans by vetoing SB 1367/HB 1223 and HB 1182/SB 1224.”
The letter is available at: https://www.aclu-tn.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Letter-to-Governor-Bill-Lee-Veto-SB1367_SB1224-FINAL.pdf