Does revamped ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill shine negative light on Music City?

Does revamped 'Don't Say Gay' bill shine negative light on Music City? (Image 1)

Music spills onto the street from the honky tonks on lower Broadway. It provides the heartbeat for Nashville's thriving downtown business district.

Locals and tourists alike fill the streets, bathed in the neon hues from the signage that burns brightly in the crisp night air.

Lisa Howe, Executive Director of Nashville's GLBT Chamber of Commerce told Nashville's News 2 the city has a lot going for it but she's worried potential legislation introduced by Tennessee lawmakers could do harm to Nashville's image as an inclusive place.

“To all of a sudden be thrown into this negative media attention, it really goes against all those positive things we have going for us,” said Howe.

She referred to SB-234, “The Classroom Protection Act” is a revamped version of the “Don't Say Gay” bill introduced by State Senator Stacey Campfield last year.

The new version, which made it to the Senate's Education Committee Thursday, has attracted National headlines. Howe told Nashville's News 2 that kind of attention reflects poorly on the city.

“The national negative media attention; it's absolutely divisive for a business climate,” said Howe.

John and his wife Max are visiting from North Carolina, scouting Nashville as a potential location for an upcoming corporate conference that could bring up to 200 people to Music City in July.

The couple didn't provide their last name or corporate affiliation due to the nature of their visit.

“I love the strip here with all the music,” said John, “The people are so friendly.”

John told Nashville's News 2 the Music City charm outweighs the so-called negative attention surrounding the controversial bill.

“I don't think it's impacted our decision. We like the city,” said John.

The ACLU of Tennessee called the Classroom Protection Act a “disgraceful bill” and contends that it would put vulnerable youth at risk.

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