Nissan statement: They support anti-gay law in TN unless it’s perceived as anti-gay (huh?)

The dam has burst. Companies are now lining up to explain their involvement in the hateful repeal of Nashville’s civil rights ordinance. We’ve received confusing statements from both FedEx and AT&T;, and now we’ve received a contradictory statement from Nissan, which chairs the board of the organization that repealed the gay/trans civil rights bill.

The following statement is being issued in response to your recent blog posts concerning HB600/SB632 here in Tennessee. You may attribute this directly to me:

“Nissan has a long-standing commitment to providing a diverse, inclusive work environment for all stakeholders, including those who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender.

Nissan strives to develop, promote and recruit at all levels of the organization so that our workforce represents the diverse communities and customers we serve, and to create an internal environment where everyone’s background and perspective are respected.

In addition, all Nissan employees who are eligible for and enroll in company benefit programs may enroll a same-sex domestic partner for medical, dental and vision coverage, and same-sex domestic partners are eligible to participate in the company’s employee lease-vehicle program.

We believe that consistent statewide employment standards, rather than a cumbersome array of local laws and ordinances, are essential to maintaining our state’s economic competitiveness. However, HB600/SB632 has become more closely associated with eroding civil liberties than fostering a strong business climate and this we do not support. “

Okay, so once you get beyond three paragraphs of blah blah, you get to the meat of the issue – where Nissan stands on repealing civil rights laws, and banning future civil rights laws. And Nissan appears to say that they’re all for repealing gay and trans rights laws so as long as no one perceives the move as anti-gay or anti-trans.

Uh, ok.

So which one is it? Does Nissan think it’s “essential” that we repeal gay and trans rights ordinances, like the organization they chair just did, or does Nissan “not support… eroding civil liberties”? Which one is it, because honestly, this Fannie Doolie is awfully confused after reading that statement, which appears to want to have it both ways.

It’s starting to look like someone slipped these companies an awfully facile set of talking points. The old “oh gosh, now the law is being perceived as anti-gay and anti-trans, so we’re not happy.” The law was specifically written to repeal the Nashville gay and trans civil rights ordinance and to stop cities in that state from ever passing another piece of civil rights legislation again. And Nissan had no idea that such a law might be perceived as being anti- civil rights? Again I ask, who gave you these talking points?

I’m sorry that Nissan finds our civil rights “cumbersome.” I suspect a lot of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are going to find buying a Nissan cumbersome as well.

But let’s take Nissan at its word. Let’s just assume that they’re shocked, simply shocking, that the organization they chair just helped to repeal a civil rights law in Tennessee. What does Nissan plan on doing about it?


Let Nissan lead the way in convincing the governor to veto this hateful law, then we’ll believe they’re for diversity.

Please sign our open letter calling on all of these companies to tell the governor to veto the bill.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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