Monday, May 23, 2011

Tennessee Chamber of Commerce: Wash, Rinse, Repeat

So, Tennessee's Republican Governor Bill Haslam has now quite predictably signed the Republican bill that quite predictably kills Metro Nashville's ordinance that would require all of its contractors to include sexual orientation and gender identity in non-discrimination policies. With the ballyhooed "twitter campaign" supplicating the Governor for a veto and thanking corporations for their support, things were setting up as another Democratic Party fight with the GOP with businesses, company-by-company, walking away from responsibility for the mess.

Then the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce retracted its support for killing the Metro ordinance but only after Governor Haslam killed it, causing some to conclude that the powerful lobby is spineless and morally bankrupt:

TN Chamber decides after Haslam signs HB600 into law that they are against it. Pay the politicans to pass it then clean hands off.

The question is not whether this drama is going to spill over into the election season. The Democrats will make hay. The Republicans are going to take heat for this. The question is whether any anger at the business community that first fought the Metro non-discrimination ordinance will generate social action and protest against all culprits. The members of the Chamber of Commerce invariably seem to enjoy the benefit of the doubt on this and a score of other justice issues, so I am inclined to doubt it.

UPDATE:  AMERICAblog Gay provides a list that indicates that not many of the corporations who chose to break with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce's opposition to non-discrimination in Nashville were helpful enough to deserve thanks.

About the TNCofC they write:

Issues statement opposing the legislation 20 seconds before we find out the Governor has just signed the legislation. Coincidence? Doubtful. It looks like the Chamber timed their statement with the governor's signature so as not to embarrass the governor.

1 comment:

  1. I can't help to think that Mayor Dean, CM Megan Barry and metro council's other "progressive" Dems are experiencing a bit of karma.

    Their elitist approach to governing our city is no different than how these Republicans at the state level behave.