mae beavers Tennessee Religious Group Used State Senator As Puppet to Pass Discrimination LawRecently, Tennessee passed a bill which prohibited its cities from setting their own non-discrimination policies, or rather policies which are stronger than the state’s own pathetic non-discrimination law. It was pushed solely by the Family Action Council of Tennessee, a wing of the Family Research Council hate group, as an attack on LGBT people and our families. Regular readers might remember us posting a video of the extremely fey FACTn leader, David Fowler, wearing a pink shirt in a playground gloating about the passage of the law. A lawsuit has been filed to overturn the law, and the documents now being exposed, related to the passage of that law, are illuminating:

To satisfy attorneys in the gay rights lawsuit against the state last week, conservative Christian lawmakers coughed up 2,200 pieces of correspondence related to their wonderful new statute that overturned Nashville’s nondiscrimination ordinance in the last legislative session.

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Just for fun, we pulled the filed marked “Sen. Mae Beavers” first and, right off the bat, we were delighted to discover an email to her from David Fowler—the Ralph Reed of Tennessee’s Christian Right and the driving force behind the state law. In this email, Fowler shockingly treats Beavers like a puppet on a string (do lobbyists really run things in Nashville?) and instructs her precisely what to say about the Tennessee Family Action Council’s bill. He obviously views Beavers as not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, but useful just the same as his bill’s sponsor.

“The bill itself is not that complicated,” Fowler writes. “We don’t need more regulation of business and business sure doesn’t need the 348 different cities coming up with their own ideas of what a discriminatory practice is. That’s the line and you just repeat it like Glen Casada did last night when the bill passed the House 73 to 24.”

“Will the homosexuals be upset?” Fowler then asks. “Sure. But to be honest, they seem to be rather resigned on this bill.”

Ha, well, I know some of “the homosexuals” who filed the lawsuit, and they are anything but “resigned.” Or as the Nashville Scene writer put it:

Whoops! Fowler misread the temperature of gay activists there. Outraged by his law, they launched a campaign to embarrass just about every major corporation in Tennessee into renouncing it. When that was done, they filed their lawsuit painting the state legislature as a bunch of bigots.

Yep!

The truth of the matter is that Senator Mae Beavers probably isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but it’s interesting to see just how much our opponents on the Religious Right view their elected officials as puppets. “We bought you, now read this word for word,” seems to be the order of the day.

The linked piece points out that, in order to prevail, those who filed the lawsuit must show that the bill was passed strictly out of bias against gay people, rather than to make it “easier to do bidness in Tennessee,” so it’s helpful that many of Tennessee’s major corporations are now squarely against the law. Reading the documents in Ms. Beavers’ file, showing e-mails spanning the wingnut diaspora, from the garden variety house-wingnut all the way up to Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, thanking her for standing up against ‘dem homoseckshuls, should give those involved in the lawsuit a hint as to what was really going on when one of Tennessee’s resident hate groups decided to lobby for special access to discriminate against LGBT people in the state.