A State of Intolerance

Jan 26, 2016
10:54 AM
Renata Soto, co-founder of the Casa Azafrán Community Center (Nashville Scene)

Renata Soto, co-founder of the Casa Azafrán Community Center (Nashville Scene)

Two pieces of serious #NoMames news came from the Bible-thumping and gun-loving state of Tennessee.

Turning the page to a Latino issue, national Latina leader Renata Soto, co-founder and executive director of Conexión Americas, was snubbed by Republicans in the state’s lower house. A bill was introduced to honor her and, well, was turned down.


Jeff Woods from the Nashville Scene explains:

House Democrat John Ray Clemmons saw it as a slam dunk to pass a resolution honoring her. But today the House’s mighty Republican supermajority disagreed.

His resolution was about to be adopted unanimously along with the regular slate of completely noncontroversial tributes for various people across Tennessee — including the runner-up on The Voice, season nine — when House GOP Caucus chairman Glen Casada intervened. Without explanation, he asked Speaker Beth Harwell to pull the Clemmons resolution and hold it back, and she complied.

Of course, this completely unbiased ruling sparked controversial statements.

Janet Murguiapresident and CEO of the National Council of La Raza wrote the Tennessean:

For reasons no one seems to be able to clearly articulate, a resolution to honor her sponsored by State Rep. John Ray Clemmons was pulled at the 11th hour at the request of House GOP Caucus Chair Glen Casada.

A routine bill that should have passed the House unanimously turned into a needless act of disrespect to a Nashvillian of the Year — someone who has dedicated her life and career to helping thousands of Nashville’s families and children, as well as the community she represents.

We are dismayed by this gratuitous insult to our organization’s board chair and we are baffled that we have been cited as the reason, given the fact that Casada stated he has never heard of us.”

renata soto

renata twitter

Moving on to a more laughable note…

Still mad about marriage equality? Worry not. I hereby present David Fowler, head of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, who filed a lawsuit to declare all marriages illegal in order to spite equality.


David Fowler, head of the Family Action Council of Tennessee (Facebook)

As reported on Think Progress:

David Fowler, head of the Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT), filed the state suit in Williamson County, asking County Clerk Elaine Anderson to cease issuing marriage licenses until the suit is resolved [emphasis mine]. His contention relies on a mix of odd technicalities relating to the impact of the Obergefell decision on Tennessee law, particularly the idea that the state’s entire marriage statute was invalidated. He argues that because lawmakers would never have passed a marriage law inclusive of same-sex couples, there is no longer any law stipulating marriage for any couple, and thus all marriage licenses issued in the state since last June are void. This, he fears, exposes the pastors who join him as plaintiffs to liability, because a separate Tennessee statute dictates that it is a Class C misdemeanor to solemnize a wedding between two people not legally eligible to marry, punishable by a $500 fine.

The proof of harm is where it gets funny. I would presume that, since the remedy they seek is the cessation of state approval on all marriages, they would need to show not only that they’ve been harmed by same-sex marriage, but also by the granting of licenses for the heterosexual marriages they claim they’re trying to defend.

Oh my, Tennessee.


Marlena Fitzpatrick is the CEO for Latino Rebels. You can follow here @MarlenaFitz.