Curb Records founder Mike Curb has a long history of advocating for LGBTQ rights. Most recently, he — along with Warner Music Nashville executives, Taylor Swift and many others — has vociferously objected to Tennessee Senate Bill 1304, which, as introduced, “prohibits a private licensed child-placing agency from being required to perform, assist, consent to, refer, or participate in any child placement for foster care or adoption that would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions.” This includes same-sex couples and potential adopters with religious beliefs different from the child-placing agency.
Curb, the former lieutenant governor of California under Jerry Brown (1979-83), has responded to this legislation with a $113,000 donation to the Tennessee Equality Project, an LGBTQ advocacy group. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed Bill 1304 into law on Jan. 24, but there are still five other discriminatory bills (SBs 848, 364, 1297, 1499 and 1282) in varying stages in the Tennessee legislature that Curb hopes to help defeat.
Below is an editorial written by Curb giving a history of the bills and the damage he believes the now-passed 1304 and the others, if passed, will do to Tennessee’s vibrant music industry.
Senate Bill 1304 is one of six anti-LGBTQ bills that Taylor Swift and I fought to stop last April. Taylor and I made significant contributions of over six figures each in order to lead the fight to stop these very discriminatory bills. This bill allows adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ people even though it is absolutely clear that LGBTQ parents have been wonderful parents throughout our country. In addition, we thought that we had stopped the bills with the support of Amazon, Warner Music Group, Nike, Hilton, Marriott, Curb Records, over 125 members of the Tennessee clergy and many others. Now at the start of 2020, the Tennessee legislature blindsided us by opening their session and bringing back the very discriminatory anti-LGBTQ adoption bill. Unbelievably, this bill allows adoption agencies that receive taxpayer funds to deny service to LGBTQ people and others. It even grants the agencies immunity from litigation. This bill is written so broadly that it also allows for discrimination against other groups of people that these agencies do not want to serve. Last March, an attempt to launch a similar discriminatory bill in Michigan resulted in litigation that ended up confirming that LGBTQ people could not be discriminated against. Ironically, many supporters of this bill and other similar bills do this in the name of Christianity. They forget that Jesus reminded us in the Bible not to be judgmental of others.
This bill reminds me of a ballot initiative that was close to succeeding in California in 1978. That initiative would have banned gay school teachers. At that time, I was running for Lt. Governor of California and I had also served as co-chairman of Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign. Many people close to Reagan thought that he should not get involved in this issue. Fortunately, I was able to meet with Reagan to discuss my strong opposition to this anti-gay ballot initiative. Reagan thought about it for a while and then he said “Mike, this is a bad law and it will hurt a lot of people.” The announcement of Reagan’s and my opposition was captured on video and was included in the Academy Award winning movie Milk. The movie credited this action with significantly impacting the ultimate defeat of this very discriminatory initiative toward gay school teachers. It appears as though many people are forgetting the fact that gay marriage has been upheld by the United States Supreme Court and that the deciding vote was cast by Justice Kennedy who was appointed by President Reagan.
Discrimination has no place in Tennessee and this great state that includes Nashville and Memphis, which are important centers of our American recording industry. Everyone in our music industry has benefited from the diversity of all people regardless of their race, religion or sexual orientation. Today people across our country are watching Tennessee in hopes that we will stand up against these very discriminatory bills that could have significant negative economic repercussions as well as damaging Tennessee’s ability to attract the very best people. We asked our Governor to veto these bills. I have already discussed with faith leaders and LGBTQ leaders the hope of helping to bring these two important communities together as we start this exciting new decade in 2020.