Tag Archives: LGBT

Haslam on LGBT Discrimination, the Homeless & Animal Abuse

In a question-and-answer session with the Cookeville Herald-Citizen, Gov. Bill Haslam raises the possibility – well, kinda, sorta, a little bit , maybe — of doing something to help the homeless at the state level and changing anti-discrimination laws to the benefit of lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender persons.
Excerpts:
On homelessness: “Most of that is being addressed by local governments, which is the right place. As a state, we are trying to look, are there things that we might do to help them.”
Responding to the question (sent to the newspaper by a reader), “Would you support changing Tennessee’s anti-discrimination policy to include protections for LGBT Tennesseans?”
“I guess it depends on exactly what they mean in terms of changes in what way. Again as governor one of my responsibilities is to make sure that no one is discriminated against or subject to any kind of abuse because of that. Again it all depends on changing the laws to say what?”
On cruelty to animals and recent reports on the “soring” of Tennessee walking horses:
” I think from a state standpoint, a couple things, number one, we certainly don’t condone animal abuse of any kind period. In that case, we support animal enforcement, the horse protection act that was passed. The enforcement for that particular industry comes from the USDA, federal law enforcement comes from them.”

Should UT Recognize Same-Sex Partnerships of Professors?

Increased workloads and stagnant salaries have University of Tennessee officials afraid other schools will begin poaching their top professors. But Megan Boehnke reports that some are pointing to another issue influencing faculty decisions to stay or go.
Nonmarried employees in committed same-sex and opposite-sex partnerships cannot receive employer benefits for their significant other, meaning some families have to find alternative and often expensive health insurance.
Such exclusions to the benefits program make it difficult to recruit and retain top professors and staff at UT, according to faculty members who are pushing for broader eligibility.
“It makes us look backwards. We’re trying to recruit nationally and internationally and we need to get away from placing value judgments on people and look at what’s best for the university,” said history professor Lynn Sacco, who serves as chair of the chancellor’s Commission for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) People. “More and more people in academia are out or are married in other states. Many of us are very valuable employees here, we get awards.
“Are we not entitled to the same compensation?”
While closed-door conversations between faculty and administration have been well-received, said Faculty Senate President Joan Heminway, UT’s chancellor, president and vice chair of the board of trustees have all declined to speak publicly on the issue
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