GLAAD Condemns Anti-LGBTQ Bills Moving in Tennessee State Assembly, Calls on State Leaders to Reject “License to Discriminate”

Tennessee is ground zero of an ongoing coordinated, national effort to rollback LGBTQ acceptance in all corners of the nation in 2019


NEW YORK – GLAAD – the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization – today called on Tennessee state lawmakers to reject three anti-LGBTQ bills that are expected to be taken up by the state’s general assembly this week, all of which would grant a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people. According to the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), about 160,000 LGBTQ people live in Tennessee with approximately 18.1% of LGBTQ couples raising children.

Under these proposed anti-LGBTQ bills:

  • Adoption agencies would be protected from any consequential action by state or local governments if it used “religious exemptions” as a way to deny an LGBTQ family from adopting a child. (Hearing is March 5 at 9:00 AM)
  • Transgender and nonbinary people in the state could be targeted and profiled on their appearance as they access restrooms and locker rooms according to their gender identity. (Hearing is March 6 at 3:30 PM)
  • Businesses would not face consequential action from the State of Tennessee if it holds a policy in favor of denying a service to an individual because of being LGBTQ, based on so-called “religious exemptions.”  (Hearing is March 5 at 1:30 PM)

“This kind of discrimination is bad for more than 160,000 LGBTQ Tennesseans, and it's bad for business,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO at GLAAD. “This effort is part of an ongoing coordinated campaign across the country to turn back the progress LGBTQ people have made. The Tennessee state legislature must defeat these bills and demonstrate that they stand with all Tennesseans and with businesses and industry working to make sure the state is a fair and equal place to live and work.”

GLAAD has worked in recent years to leverage the power of the music industry in Tennessee to accelerate acceptance for LGBTQ people. In June, the organization will host its annual Concert for Love & Acceptance in Nashville during the legendary CMA Fest.

Since taking office, the Trump Administration has unleashed more than 95 attacks against LGBTQ Americans in policy and rhetoric, which includes granting South Carolina a waiver to allow faith-based organizations to deny LGBTQ couples the ability to adopt a child. GLAAD’s Trump Accountability Project (TAP) has catalogued every anti-LGBTQ action by this administration, available at