Sunday, February 8, 2009

Hate Crimes Bill Filed

Hate Crimes and Birth Certificate Bills Filed

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is pleased to announce that, for the first time in history, a transgender inclusive Hate Crimes bill has been filed in the Tennessee General Assembly.

This week, Rep. Jeanne Richardson (D-Memphis) filed HB0335, which is accompanied by SB0253 by Sen. Beverly Marrero (D-Memphis), which would add "gender identity or expression" as a hate crimes sentencing enhancement factor to Tennessee Code Annotated 40-35-114. Passage of this bill will make it easier for state and local authorities to track and prosecute hate crimes against all LGBT Tennesseans.

Also this week, Rep. Richardson and Senator Marrero filed HB0334/SB0252
which would permit gender changes on birth certificates. Currently, Tennessee is the only state in the nation with a law that totally bans such changes.

We thank Representative Richardson and Senator Marrero for their support in these two areas. We urge Tennessee lawmakers to pass both of these vital pieces of legislation.

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition is also opposing, once again, a bill to ban adoption rights for unmarried, co-habiting couples, SB0078 by Senator Paul Stanley (R-Germantown). TTPC was one of several groups which mobilized thousands of responsible Tennesseans against this discriminatory, moralizing, and costly legislation in 2008, which would limit the rights of responsible adults from adopting children. We are opposing it again this year.

TTPC is also opposing all bills being filed which would require new Voter IDs:
SB0003 by Beavers/HB0009 by Weaver
SB0005 by Ketron/HB0010 by Maggart, Lynn, and Evans
SB0150 by Ketron
SB0191 by Bunch/HB0267 by Watson

TTPC has previously opposed any such legislation because of its potential disfranchising impact on transgender voters and will do so again this year.

We are continuing to monitor the filing of bills and will oppose any legislation which discriminates against LGBT Tennesseans in Civil Unions, Education, and in any other area where there is an attempt to deny full equality.

If you do not know the name of your State Senator or Representative, you can Find Your Legislator by clicking here.

As part of this effort, we strongly urge everyone to join TTPC as we support the Tennessee Equality Project's 5th Annual Advancing Equality Day on the Hill, on Tuesday, February 17. Join LGBT people and supporters from across the state in Nashville as we meet with state legislators and discuss issues of importance to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. More details about the event are below.

If you live in Memphis, Knoxville, Nashville, Murfreesboro, Chattanooga or Tri-Cities areas, contact TEP before scheduling your meetings to avoid setting up multiple meetings with the same representatives.

Marisa Richmond
President

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