Anti-discrimination bill headed to full Senate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A proposal that would prohibit local governments from creating anti-discrimination laws that are stricter than the state's is headed for a vote on the Senate floor.

The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet was approved 6-3 in the Senate State and Local Government Committee on Monday. The companion bill passed the House 73-24 last month.

The proposal would void a Nashville ordinance barring companies that discriminate against gays and lesbians from doing business with the city.

Under state law it is illegal to discriminate against a person because of race, creed, color, religion, sex, age or national origin.

The Nashville ordinance prohibits companies that discriminate because of sexual orientation or gender identity from receiving city contracts. An amendment to remove Nashville from the state proposal failed.

Democratic Sen. Thelma Harper of Nashville called the legislation "mean-spirited."

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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