Two bills sponsored by Nashville city council members that would have extended legal protections to cover workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation were withdrawn Tuesday night, the Nashville Tennessean reports. The bills were considered possibly unconstitutional by city attorneys. Council members Chris Ferrell and Eileen Beehan, the bills' main sponsors, said they will submit a single better-written bill within the next few weeks. "The step tonight is a positive step," said Abby Rubenfeld, an attorney, mother, lesbian, and board member of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee. "We are moving forward."
The proposals had faced heated opposition from city religious leaders, including officials for the Southern Baptist Convention, which is headquartered in Nashville. On Tuesday night more than 80 opponents, each wearing a sticker that read "God knows best. Vote no," were in attendance at the meeting. "We want to make sure we keep the pressure on, let them know that anytime they bring this up, we'll be down here to oppose it," said Denny Patterson, pastor of the Nolensville Road Baptist Church.