Last night, Nashville’s Metro Council decided to delay a final vote on an anti-discrimination measure that would require most contractors and vendors with the city to adhere to a non-discrimination policy that includes protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The delay in the vote isn’t a bad sign: turns out that many Metro Council members were just absent from the meeting because their children are on spring break from school.
But it does mean that there will be at least one more Metro Council meeting — currently scheduled for April 5 — before a final vote will happen.
Yesterday, Metro Council members got a letter from one of America’s corporate leaders, Nike, urging them to extend the city’s anti-discrimination laws to vendors and contractors. The letter came from Orson C. Porter, Nike Inc.’s U.S. director of governance and public affairs, and was sent to Councilman Mike Jameson, who is an original sponsor of the expanded anti-discrimination legislation.
“By supporting this measure, you support the guiding principle that every American deserves a chance to compete and prosper on a level playing field,” Porter says in the letter from Nike. “At Nike, we believe diversity and inclusion is about respecting our differences, leveraging our strengths and maximizing opportunity for everyone.”
Wow, talk about putting a nail in the coffin of the argument that private businesses view anti-discrimination laws as “over-regulation,” which is what opponents of this measure have tried to say. But the truth? Well, as Nike puts it, businesses want to work in communities where diversity thrives, and where employees of all stripes and walks of life will be treated with dignity. That’s why with each passing year, a record number of Fortune 500 companies (of which Nike is one) adopt policies that are inclusive of LGBT people, whether we’re talking about anti-discrimination rules or domestic partnership policies and more.
And let’s give Nike some real credit on LGBT rights here. This is yet another example of them throwing their support behind equal rights legislation that would end discrimination for LGBT people. Another previous example? In 2009, when the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) was introduced in Congress, Nike issued a statement saying that the passage of ENDA was good for business, and reflected the values of equality that make all companies better employers.
Now that we have until April 5 before a final vote in Nashville will happen, why not add your voice to our petition urging Nashville’s Metro Council to expand its non-discrimination ordinance to vendors and contractors with the local government? For the sake of Nike, Just Do It.
Sorry. Sometimes the puns are just too irresistible to pass up. And the real reason to send this messageto Nashville’s Metro Council is because we all want to see Nashville live up to its promise to be a welcoming community that honors the dignity of all residents and workers, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.