Controversal Tennessee bathroom bill withdrawn


NASHVILLE,Tenn. (WKRN) – A measure from Tennessee’s Capitol Hill that drew national headlines won’t be facing a vote this year.

The sponsor of the controversial bathroom bill withdrew her bill, but said she plans to bring it back next year.

Nashville mayor Megan Barry called the bill withdrawal “a great outcome for equality in Tennessee and the future success of Nashville.”

The city had identified close to 60 million dollars in lost revenue from conventions who threatened to leave Nashville if the bathroom bill passed.RELATED: Complete coverage of bathroom bill

Suburban Nashville State Representative Susan Lynn (R) told reporters why she withdrew the bill just hours after meeting with Governor Bill Haslam in the waning days of this legislative session.

“There are still some issues that are outstanding and we don’t have enough time left, but in the meantime, our school districts are largely doing what this bill says and I want to thank our administrators for protecting the rights of all students,” Lynn told reporters Monday.

The bill would have required students at public schools and colleges to use the restroom of their birth gender, but some businesses threatened pulling conventions out of Tennessee and the state attorney general cited a legal scenario where the state could lose some education funding if the measure passed.

But the sponsor says both were not much of a factor on withdrawing the measure.

“I don’t even think about it because they did not send me a letter. [I] did not have one letter from one company,” Rep. Lynn added.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee released the following statement after Rep. Lynn made the decision to table the bill:

We are gratified that Representative Susan Lynn heeded the extensive opposition to this bill from all corners of the state and decided to take this discriminatory and harmful legislation off notice. This measure would have had a devastating financial impact on the state, let alone the damage that it would have caused vulnerable students in Tennessee. Today’s move helps ensure that every child in Tennessee will be treated with respect and dignity. We will remain vigilant to ensure that all Tennessee children are treated equally under the law.

On Monday, before the bill was withdrawn, prayers and passion marked the latest chapter of people trying to influence the hearts and minds of Tennessee lawmakers concerning the bill.

“Those in Tennessee need to understand that this is an issue that greatly concerns our parents and greatly concerns our pastors,” Dale Walker with the Tennessee Pastors Network (TPN) said.

The Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT) released a statement saying they are thankful for Rep. Lynn and Sen. Bell’s efforts “in the face of consistent opposition from the governor’s office and others.”

“… but we join the thousands of parents across the state who are profoundly disappointed that at this point in the process Rep. Lynn has decided not to proceed with a bill that would have simply protected the privacy of the children they have entrusted to our public schools,” FACT continues. Read their full statement here.

With voices like those of TPN and Fact supporting the bill, Rep. Lynn says she will bring back the measure next year with some likely changes.

But if that happens, expect opposition again from Beech High School transgender student Henry Seaton, who has been in legislative hallways speaking against it all session.

“I thought it was dead, but I will be here as long as it’s alive,” Seaton told News 2.

“I don’t know why this is a thing. Why I am less than my counterparts?” the high school student added. “I feel singled out and stigmatized.”

For now, however, he won’t have to feel that way about Tennessee’s bathroom bill.

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