Gov. Lee sidesteps whether anti-LGBT bills are discriminatory or hurts Tennessee businesses

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Governor Bill Lee is sidestepping whether or not anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being proposed in the General Assembly is discriminatory.

Tennessee Democrats and Republicans agree that Tennessee is the place to do business.

“In Tennessee, we’ve had really successful business community, successful business climate,” said Rep. Mike Stewart, a Nashville Democrat.

Over 100 Tennessee businesses large and small, even the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry that Lee spoke in front of Tuesday, have come out against discriminatory legislation including anti-LGBTQ+ bills.

“People are going to start making decisions,” Stewart said. “Most people that bring jobs here can take those jobs to other states, there are other states competing for every single job we get and to create this sort of climate of hatred is the opposite of what the business community is looking for.”

While Governor Bill Lee, a Republican, says businesses have a right to speak out: “It’s important that business voices their concerns or their desires business plays an important role in this community.”

He adds that it’s up to the General Assembly to make laws, not businesses.

“At the end of the day, the people through their elected representatives to make the law in this state,” Lee said.

However, Governor Lee would not take a position on whether Republican lead anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, from bathroom policy changes, anti-trans youth healthcare bills to restrictions on LGBTQ+ education is in fact discriminatory.

“We’ll comment on bills that make it through committee and what we’re working on are the bills that are right before us today,” Lee said.

The 50th governor also said the transgender athletic ban he signed addressed discrimination against women. Lee added some of what businesses are doing, including the MLB pulling its all-star game out of Atlanta in reaction to their new voting law — is “political theatre”.

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