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Plaintiffs to appeal Tennessee judge's dismissal of protection of gay workers lawsuit

June 20th, 2012 1:58 pm by Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An attorney for plaintiffs who have filed a lawsuit challenging a state law that overruled local protections for gay and lesbian workers said Wednesday that she will appeal a judge's decision to dismiss the suit.

The Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act prohibits local governments from creating anti-discrimination regulations that are stricter than those of the state. The law nullified a Nashville ordinance that barred companies that discriminate against gays and lesbians from doing business with the city.

Plaintiffs claim the law is unconstitutional for several reasons, including stripping them of previous legal protections.

But Davidson County Chancellor Carol McCoy said last week that the plaintiffs did not satisfy standing requirements and ordered the lawsuit dismissed.

"The Court finds no justificable question is before it in this matter in that none of the plaintiff's had standing," she wrote.

Plaintiffs' attorney Abby Rubenfeld said she believes the judge ignored certain arguments raised in the lawsuit and she plans to appeal.

For instance, Rubenfeld said one part of the statute "gratuitously redefines 'sex' for purposes of anti-discrimination laws so as to exclude all transgender persons."

"She just flat out ignored it, although we briefed it and argued it," Rubenfeld said.

Among the lawsuit's plaintiffs is Lisa Howe, a former Belmont University soccer coach whose departure from the private Christian university was the impetus for the city's ordinance.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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