CHATTANOOGA, (WDEF) — June is national Pride month. On Sunday, the LGBTQ community in Chattanooga held a rally and march to protest a recent house bill that some activists say can potentially be discriminatory towards LGBTQ residents.
“This is what we do in the month of June, the entire LGBT community congregates worldwide and that’s how we fight,” said Audrey Hill.
Hill, a veteran alongside her wife and daughter, spoke against a bill recently passed in Tennessee, known as the “Natural And Ordinary” Law.
Hill says she’s concerned the new law could impede on their rights, like marriage.
The City of Chattanooga passed an ordinance to protect city employees from discrimination, but they say that isn’t enough.
“The state tells us a lot what we can and can’t do and what we have to do to make sure to make progress is to make progress in the halls of Nashville as well, so everybody here knows what we have to do Chattanooga is a place where every person counts,” said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.
With it being almost a year since the deadly shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, city officials like Police Chief Fred Fletcher reassured activist that his department protects all community members.
“I’m here to tell you as our neighbors we love you, we stand behind you, we stand beside you and should anybody threaten you because of who you love we will stand between you and that violence,” said Chief Fletcher.
Faith leaders also came in support saying, although historically the church and the LGBT community haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, it’s now time for a change.
“All people should be welcomed at every table no matter if it is a table set by the church or a table set my municipal government or a table where you just want to sit with your family and be engrossed by the very love that you feel,” said Sr. Minister Brandon Gilvin of First Christian Church.
In a statement the Governor and bill’s sponsors say this bill was made for the the general dentition section of the Tennessee code defining words like “road” or “sheriff”.
According to the Associated Press, Haslam stated that when he initially signed the bill that decisions made by the Supreme Court like same-sex marriage is “the law of the land, and this legislation does nothing to change that.”
Mayor Andy Berke and Chief Fletcher have not directly endorsed anything, but do stand with LGBT members.