Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero has joined a growing group of opponents to a bill that would require that students use the restroom that matches the gender on their birth certificates.
The so-called bathroom bill is under fire by groups claiming that it unfairly targets transgender students. Supporters say the measure would protect students and their privacy, arguing that Tennessee's schools need a statewide policy to follow, rather than the current system that allows schools to make accommodations to students on a case-by-case basis.
On Friday, Roger released a statement opposing the measure.
“This bill would feed an atmosphere of intolerance that would negatively affect the lives of local families and students, and also could have damaging consequences for tourism and economic development," said Rogero. "We have seen that our cities thrive on diversity and respect for all people. I hope our legislators do not move forward with this unnecessary and divisive bill.”
Earlier this week, several large companies signed a letter condemning the bill, including Dow Chemical Company, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Choice Hotels International and Alcoa.
A group called the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an organization supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, released the letter. It calls the bill "discriminatory" and says it would be "bad for business."
In addition, HRC says the parent company of Country Music Television also issued a statement, urging lawmakers to reject the legislation
Earlier this week, the House education administration and planning committee passed the bill, reversing an earlier decision to send it to summer study.
A Senate committee is expected to take it up next week.
Governor Bill Haslam has raised concerns about Tennessee losing federal education funding if the bill becomes law.