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LGBT advocates question intention of House Bill 33

State representative John Ragan introduced House Bill 33 this week. (Image:
State representative John Ragan introduced House Bill 33 this week. (Image:
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Husband, wife, mother and father - those are the terms a new Tennessee bill is centered around.

State representative John Ragan introduced House Bill 33 this week.

The bill would require the words "husband," "wife," "mother," and "father" to be used and given in their natural and ordinary meaning based on the biological distinction between men and women.

Ragan says it's intended to clarify language in statutes.

"It amends a portion of our code with definitions. We have a section of our code that has definitions to applied throughout the code. And this just adds some definitions to that section," said Ragan.

LGBT advocates say it could mean a lot more.

"I feel like we have a select few politicians who just refuse to accept the Supreme Court's ruling," said Chris Taylor, President of Outlook Chattanooga.

Taylor, and others, believe the bill would cause problems for same-sex parents, same-sex couples adopting children, and transgender and gender non-conforming people; basically anyone who doesn't fit the more traditional defintion of the titles husband, wife, mother, or father.

Ragan disagrees and says the bill has nothing to do with that.

"I filed it in relation to a court case. We routinely do these things when court cases come up with decisions to make it easy to reference rather than have to be a lawyer to dig through court things. We sometimes translate the court case right into the code and this is one of those cases," he added.

Despite his answer, we asked Ragan if he could understand why Taylor and other advocates feel the way they do about this bill.

"If anybody's upset over it, I guess they've got a quarrel with the dictionary," Ragan said.

Taylor believes this has to do with some politicians religious beliefs and thinks it could affect state revenue.

"This is not just a religious issue. This is a money issue. We want our state to be economically vital and strong and if we start restricting certain groups of people from feeling like they have a place here in the state, we run into some big issues," he said.

A few years ago, Representative Ragan sponsored a "Don't Say Gay" bill that got a lot of attention but never passed.

We reached out to Senator Janice Bowling, who sponsors the Senate bill, but never heard back.

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Some of the counties she represents includes Grundy, Marion and Sequatchie.

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