sexual orientation

Legislature approves new $2 tax on strip club customers

The legislature has given final approval  to a bill levying a $2 tax on each customer entering a “sexually oriented business” – or strip club. Revenue raised from the tax under the measure, as introduced, was earmarked a fund to benefit survivors of sex trafficking, paying for things like more beds and programs at sex trafficking rehab centers, though changed via amendment to state that’s only a general intent.

Continue reading

Senate panel quietly kills latest version of transgender bathroom bill.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday quietly killed a bill requiring the state attorney general to represent public school systems when they face lawsuits over sex-linked bathroom policies or, if he declines, that the state instead pay the legal fees of private attorneys.

Continue reading

Appeals court rejects legislators’ intervention in lesbian couple’s child custody dispute

The state Court of Appeals has rejected an attempt by 52 state representatives and 19 state senators to intervene in a divorce dispute over child custody between Sabrina Witt and Erica Witt, two Knoxville women who were married in Washington, D.C., reports the News Sentinel.

The opinion, written by Court of Appeals Chief Judge Michael Swiney also declares that the legislators should pay costs involved in appealing the trial court’s decision dismissing their motion to intervene.

Continue reading

Gay couple protests TNGOP use of wedding photo in attack ad; more media reporting on Senate District 14

A direct mail attack ad against Democratic state Senate candidate Gayle Jordan uses a picture of her with two gay men – she officiated at their marriage – who have consulted a lawyer because the photograph was lifted from a Facebook page and used without their permission, reports WSMV.

Shane Morgan, an Air Force veteran who suffers from PTSD, said he and his husband, Landon, were married by Jordan in December as private citizens and didn’t sign up to be caught in mudslinging. The attack mailer has a headline over the picture saying, “Liberal Gayle Jordan will destroy the fabric of American society. Take her word for it.”

Continue reading

Christian conservative leader has legislators scuttle bill banning child marriage

A bill aimed at banning “child brides” in Tennessee is dead for the year after a former state senator and conservative activist asked it be delayed for fear it might interfere with his legal challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2015 ruling on same-sex marriage, reports the Times Free Press.

Continue reading

Nude photos of Nashville mayor found on lover/bodyguard ‘s cell phone?

Photographs of a woman’s nude body were found on the cell phone of former Metro Nashville police Sgt. Rob Forrest, who had an acknowledged sexual affair with Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, reports The Tennessean, citing a TBI affidavit filed in seeking a court order mandating access to Barry’s personal cell phone.

Continue reading

Nashville mayor acknowledges extramarital affair

Press release from Nashville mayor’s office

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (January 31, 2018) – Mayor Megan Barry has released the following statement regarding an extramarital affair:

“Today, I have acknowledged publicly that I have engaged in an extramarital affair with the former head of my security detail.

Continue reading

Fundraising effort seeks to finance UT Knoxville LGBT center without state money

An effort called “Vol Means All” is underway to fully fund operations at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s LGBT student center without government support, according to Out and About in Nashville. The first official fundraiser will be Feb. 1 in Nashville with UT-Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport on hand.

Continue reading

McCormick drops ‘bathroom bill’ after talk with AG and Harwell

State Rep. Gerald McCormick says he is withdrawing his controversial school “bathroom bill” after assurances from Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery that he already can and will step in with legal aid to smaller systems facing lawsuits over LGBT access policies, reports the Times Free Press.

Continue reading

Norris questioned on gay marriage at hearing on confirmation as U.S. judge; no vote taken

Tennessee state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, nominated for a federal judgeship in West Tennessee, told U.S. senators Wednesday he considers the legality of same-sex marriage to be a settled issue and that he would follow it as a precedent if confirmed to the bench, reports Michael Collins.

The Senate Judiciary Committee took no vote Wednesday on whether to confirm President Donald Trump’s nomination of Norris, R-Colliervile, leaving that to another meeting.  Norris has supported state legislation that critics argue would undermine the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling that legalized gay marriage in 2015.

He also was one of the leading sponsors of a state resolution calling for a federal Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman. (Note: The apparent reference is to SJR27 back in 2003, which had then-Sen.  David Fowler, now head of the Family Action Council of Tennessee and a staunch opponent of gay marriage, as prime sponsor and Norris as a co-sponsor.)

Continue reading