The district attorney in Nashville says he will not enforce a newly-passed Tennessee state law requiring businesses to display signage if they allow transgender people to use the bathrooms of their choice.
The Associated Press reported that Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk told reporters in a statement Monday that his office would not enforce the new law, and accused its Republican supporters of promoting hate against transgender people.
“I believe every person is welcome and valued in Nashville,” his office said while clarifying that the statement referred specifically to the bathroom bill. “Enforcement of transphobic or homophobic laws is contrary to those values. My office will not promote hate.”
The move could be the first sign of a showdown in the state over the law, as the president of the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference, Amy Weirich, echoed Funk's assertion that the law does not even provide the state a way to enforce its provisions.
“The way it’s written, I don’t see anything that allows or provides me the responsibility or right to go to civil court and ask a judge to enforce it,” said Weirich, district attorney for Shelby County, according to the AP.
Passed earlier this year, the law would go into effect on July 1 and would require businesses to alert customers if transgender people are allowed to use the restrooms of their choice or unisex bathrooms. No penalties are defined in the legislation, and supporters have leaned on the possibility of privately-led lawsuits leading the charge on enforcement.
Gov. Bill Lee (R) offered no opinion about Funk's decision when asked by reporters on Monday about the news.
“I think his decision will be his own,” he said, according to the AP. “I signed the law; it’s his decision how he wants to respond to it.”
Republican-led efforts to target transgender people with various legislation has ramped up significantly since the 2020 election. Supporters of the LGBT community have called many of the efforts blatantly discriminatory.
Lawmakers in more than half of the states in the union are now reportedly considering bills that would limit transgender people's access to medical care, sporting activities, or other aspects of public life.