Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill requiring public schools to have sex-specific bathrooms, allowing for accommodations for those who refuse to use them.
The “Tennessee Accommodations for All Children Act” was signed into law by Lee May 14, according to The Hill, despite opposition and claims of discrimination from LGBT and transgender advocate groups.
“It’s a reasonable accommodation, it allows for accommodation for every student regardless of their gender,” Lee told reporters before signing the bill, The Hill reported.
The Human Rights Campaign says the bill will “deny transgender students access to the bathroom and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.”https://t.co/7vpqY10VOV
— Jalyn Souchek (@Local24Jalyn) May 17, 2021
A school can deny a request for reasonable accommodation if it’s able to prove that the request would cause “undue hardship,” but students and parents can take action if hardship can’t be proven. (RELATED: ‘I Plan To Ignore It’: Tennessee Teachers Criticize Critical Race Theory Ban At Public Schools, Say It Will Harm Students)
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) criticized Lee’s decision to sign the bill shortly after the signing on Friday, according to The Hill, stating that the “anti-equality” legislation was an attempt to “sow fear and division” across the state.
NEW: The ACLU sent a letter Monday to @GovBillLee urging him to veto legislation they say will unconstitutionally discriminate against transgender people.
— WTVC NewsChannel 9 (@newschannelnine) May 11, 2021
“The bill further discriminates against transgender students and opens up schools to legal consequences if a student believes they have shared a sex-segregated space…with a transgender student,” the HRC said according to The Hill.
Congressional Republicans made a push in February, led by Illinois Congresswoman Mary Miller, to pass a national version of a similar law that would prevent transgender people from using sex-specific bathrooms in schools.