The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Mike Bell of Riceville was withdrawn from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Under the measure, a person or group wouldn’t have to provide services for a domestic partnership or marriage not recognized by the state if doing so would violate their religious beliefs. Tennessee does not recognize same-sex marriages. Bell reiterated that the legislation was intended to protect shop owners in Tennessee, noting that those in other states have been sued for refusing to do business. However, opponents of the measure say it’s intended to target gay, lesbian and transgender couples and is discriminatory. Bell says he allowed the legislation to die because current state law already offers business owners the protections his bill spelled out. The Tennessee Human Rights Act does not include gay people as a protected class from discrimination.
A similar bill in Kansas also appears to be dead for now.