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Nissan Comes Out Of The Closet Against Anti-Gay Tennessee Law Page 2

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In a statement (issued following Nissan's release), the Chamber's executive committee said that while it supports "a standard regulatory environment at the state level, as opposed to potentially conflicting local regulations covering employment practices," that principle had been its only interest in supporting the bill.

Now, because the bill "has turned into a debate on diversity and inclusiveness principles, which we support," it said, the Chamber is "now officially opposing this legislation in its present form."

To be fair to Nissan, the company had issued a previous and more detailed statement on Friday that expanded on the same thought at more length, saying,

Nissan has a long-standing commitment to providing a diverse, inclusive work environment for all stakeholders, including those who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender.

Nissan strives to develop, promote and recruit at all levels of the organization so that our workforce represents the diverse communities and customers we serve, and to create an internal environment where everyone's background and perspective are respected.

Nissan lithium-ion battery pack plant under construction, Smyrna, Tennessee, Jan 2011

Nissan lithium-ion battery pack plant under construction, Smyrna, Tennessee, Jan 2011

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In addition, all Nissan employees who are eligible for and enroll in company benefit programs may enroll a same-sex domestic partner for medical, dental and vision coverage, and same-sex domestic partners are eligible to participate in the company's employee lease-vehicle program.

We believe that consistent statewide employment standards, rather than a cumbersome array of local laws and ordinances, are essential to maintaining our state's economic competitiveness. However, HB600/SB632 has become more closely associated with eroding civil liberties than fostering a strong business climate and this we do not support.

This explicit policy of non-discrimination, on both sexual orientation and gender expression, has long been a part of Nissan's culture, said the company's vice president for corporate communications, David Reuter .

"And it's not only a policy," he said, "it's the way we operate,"

Over the last week, Nissan received increasing levels of feedback (for which read "e-mails and phone calls") that indicated many people believe Nissan supported the goal of the bill that was passed last week.

That, he said, was what led the company to issue its statement. The bill's passage "has not changed how we operate," and won't, Reuter said.

As for politics around such legislation in Tennessee in the future, Reuter declined comment.

Which is probably wise, because bills targeting the lesbian and gay community seem popular in Tennessee at the moment.

On Friday, the Tennessee Senate passed the "Don't Say 'Gay'" bill, which would make it illegal for public school teachers to discuss the existence of gay and lesbian people. The House will take it up next year.

Nissan, if it is lucky, will have no dog whatsoever in that fight.

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Comments (16)
  1. It's kind of sad that the Corporate Communications Department felt the need to craft that convoluted statement so as not to use the G-word.

  2. I am embarresed to say I am a resident of TN. My partner and I have been together 25 years, we have paid an assload of taxes to the state. Thank you Nissan for taking a stand. I put myself through college and became an engineer. I came out finally about 15 years ago and my career has suffered. I don't come to work waving my rainbow flag and I don't need any special rights-just the same basic civil rights as the religious right.

  3. I totally agree with Nissan, a good, reliable worker is "Extremely hard to come by in this day and age. Why limit the job pool with frivoulus state regulations.
    States have too many important concerns to deal with than a person sexual preference.

  4. It's too bad companies like Nissan put a lot of money into these "tea party, extreme right wing, excentric, redneck" states. This is what they are going to get from those GOP people-haters that have been elected as governors and legislators.

  5. Let's see...Nissan only supports anti-gay laws until they pass. After that, they're against anti-gay laws. Ok - got it.

  6. Nissan doesn't want to lose a sale........plain and simple. Money in their hands is still money no matter where it comes from.

  7. I agree with Matt & Ernie. I have been looking at the new Nissan 370Z but I will not buy a car from them until this law is repealed. They are on the board of directors for the Chamber so either they knew what was going on or they are incompetent.

  8. NISSAN is very guilty in this case. They company chaired the Chamber and championed the bill as the prime mover against the Nashville contractors bill that required companies doing business with the city to certify that they have policies protecting their gay employees against discrimination. Why? Because they did not like that provision as a company that had many contracts with the state of Tennessee.

  9. Meh.. Who'd want to drive a shatty Nissan anyway. Their slogan should be: Nissan. The car for when you've given up on life.
    My partner & I are both shopping for new cars this year. Guess who's not on the list?

  10. I picked up my Nissan Leaf the day this news broke. I don't think their statement is strong enough. If a study was done I would bet that the people buying their electric car are mostly progressives. Progressives care about the environment for the planet and for people. So while I love my Leaf, and the solar panels that run it, I am really disappointed in the company.

  11. we need two new cars in the next year of so. Until Nissan comes out with an absolute support of gay / trans people statement and deeds not just words.........
    We wont even go to their dealerships.
    and our trip to nashville - re country music - forget it also.

  12. I suppose that because it's now so "politically incorrect" to persecute black people, these poisonous hicks need another target on which to expend their venom, that is when they're not in their churches babbling about their Sweet Jesus. Sanctimonious hypocrites and moral degenerates, the whole da***d lot of them.

  13. This is not exclusive to Nissan. Look at the list of companies who for one reason or the other have been able to maintain operations in the state of TN. The hypocrisy of the bill and the orginor of the bill is as follows.
    ASK any of the residents of the state of Tennessee that have lost jobs when the plants in the Johnson City closed or the other almost 10% unemployeed in Tn if they had voice in the sexcual orientation of the person who worked next to them while they made 40 hours a received a pay check. It is the ignorance of this bill in this job market that is overwhelming. I suppose the author of this bill things everyone drives a ford. Maybe in Tn, but not the rest of the global economy. You get my point.

  14. Tennessee should be ashamed of itself.

  15. Thank you Nissan. Smart.

  16. Good for Tennessee, we need more people willing to stand up against the facism of the radical and militant "alternate lifestyle" movement. The poor people who are in "transition" or homosexual, need love and psychologial theraphy, not enabling of their mental illness, and recruitment of more people into the "lifestyle".

    I for one will not be buying any more Nissan or Infinity automobiles.

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