June 19, 2021

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Nashville DA stands by decision to not enforce new bathroom sign law

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Davidson County’s District Attorney, Glenn Funk, stands by his decision to not enforce controversial legislation recently signed into law, requiring signs outside of inclusive bathrooms, according to a letter from the DA.

On Wednesday, Funk responded to requests for clarification from the Republican Chair of the Government Operations Committee, Rep. John Ragan, on the DA’s stance against the transgender bathroom law.

“District attorneys,” Funk wrote, “have discretion of when and under what circumstances to enforce laws enacted by the legislative branch and signed by the executive.”

The DA said his office is devoted to public safety, prosecuting violent crimes, and supporting victims, and the bathroom sign law, “does not accomplish those goals.”

Last month, Governor Bill Lee signed House Bill 1182 that requires businesses and government facilities open to the public to post signage if they allow transgender people to use multi-person bathrooms, locker rooms, or changing rooms associated with their gender identity.

In a release issued the following week, the Nashville DA stated, “I believe every person is welcome and valued in Nashville. Enforcement of transphobic and homophobic laws is contrary to those values. My office will not promote hate.”

Funk had been under pressure from Ragan to explain his opposition to the law.

Funk went on to write in Wednesday’s letter that he believes, “LGBTQ people deserve the same protections and safety I desire for my own family. The District Attorney’s Office must advocate for all citizens without exception.”

You can read the full letter here.

Funk added that Ragan’s most recent letter cited State v. Mallard. “I have attached that opinion. It supports my position.”

You can read that document here.

Tennessee is the first state to require such signage inside business that allow transgender people to use multi-person bathrooms .. That align with their gender.

It’s unclear how the law, which goes into effect on July 1, will be enforced, or what penalties violators could face.