Music industry's leading performing rights organizations speak out against discriminatory Tennessee bills

Today, the music industry's leading performing rights organizations, ASCAP and BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) spoke out against anti-LGBT bills currently pending in Tennessee. 

Statement from ASCAP President Paul Williams:

Music is a great unifier. The state of Tennessee has been welcoming talented songwriters and musicians from all walks of life to make music and to call Tennessee home. As part of the ever-growing Tennessee music business community that has been built through inclusion and tolerance, ASCAP urges Tennessee's state lawmakers and Governor Haslam to reject these discriminatory proposals - HB1840 and HB2414.

Statement from BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.):

BMI was founded over 76 years ago with an open door policy welcoming all songwriters across all genres of music. Something that unfortunately was not common at the time. That same spirit of tolerance, inclusiveness and diversity continues today, and as such, we urge Tennessee lawmakers to reject HB1840 and HB2414.

Yesterday, GLAAD and the Tennessee Equality Project convened a press conference in Nashville, during which GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis called on the music industry to take a stand against the discriminatory bills. 

“There is no doubt that these anti-LGBT bills will jeopardize this state’s economy,” Ellis said during the press conference. “Nashville is America’s music capital, and the companies, artists, and allied businesses here alone contribute more than $9.7 billion dollars to this state’s economy. I am here today to call on the country music industry to stand with us, alongside television networks and film studios who stood with us in Georgia, in a united front against discrimination.”

Tennessee's House Bill 1840 would allow medical professionals to refuse mental health services to LGBT patients, and Tennessee’s HB 2414, a so-called "bathroom bill," would target transgender youth, aged K-12, as well as transgender higher education students – denying them the safety and freedom to use the bathroom that matches their identity.

Last week, GLAAD joined the Tennessee Equality Project last week in support of a petition that voices opposition to the state’s discriminatory bills. Thousands have already signed in support of equality and acceptance for all LGBT Tennesseans.

UPDATE - APRIL 13, 2016, 12PM:

Performing rights giant SESAC today released the following statement:

People, like art, are diverse and multi-dimensional.  It is up to us all to be open-minded and respectful of our fellow citizens. SESAC has represented the creative community for almost 90 years and understands the importance of inclusion on all levels of interaction.  At this time of turmoil and uncertainty, we call upon Governor Haslam and our Tennessee lawmakers to lead by example and demonstrate much-needed acceptance, tolerance, wisdom, and leadership by rejecting proposed legislation which would infringe upon the dignity of certain Tennessee citizens.