Renowned independent record label Curb Records and the Mike Curb Foundation today filed a federal lawsuit, Curb Records v. William Lee, challenging a new Tennessee law, HB 1182, that requires businesses to post a demeaning notice on their premises if they have policies allowing access for transgender individuals on an equal basis to other patrons.
The complaint asserts that HB 1182 – which designates precise dimensions, red and yellow coloring and specific language amounting to a “not welcome” sign to patrons – promotes a hostile climate for LGBT people in the state and denies them equal access to businesses open to the public as well as to employment and educational opportunities. Curb Records and the Mike Curb Foundation argue that the law compels them and other Tennessee businesses to endorse a climate of fear and nonacceptance of LGBT people, in contradiction to their company values of integrity, respect for diversity and nondiscrimination.
“It’s outrageous to have the government come in and force me to send such a derogatory message to my employees and customers,” said Mike Curb, founder and Chairman of Curb Records and President of the Mike Curb Foundation. “My grandmother Eloisa Salazar faced incredible discrimination as she grew up on the Mexico-U.S. border, and her experience shaped my family’s and my company’s values. Our foundation has been dedicated to inclusion and nondiscrimination, including for LGBT people, from day one. It is hard to believe that our LGBT community in Tennessee is being assaulted with so much harmful legislation, much of it being signed by Governor Lee, at a time when our country needs to come together more than ever before.”
HB 1182 was introduced by Representative Tim Rudd of Murfreesboro, signed into law by Governor Bill Lee in May and is scheduled to go into effect on July 1. The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Grammy award-winning record producer Mike Curb started his career almost six decades ago in California and Curb Records has operated for the last three decades in Nashville, Tennessee. The company has launched the careers of numerous successful country, rock, pop, R&B, gospel and Christian rock artists. Curb Records and the Mike Curb Foundation have provided grants and gifts totaling more than $100 million in Tennessee in support of education, historic preservation, individuals facing homelessness, and a wide range of civic and charitable endeavors in local Tennessee communities. These projects include the Curb Center at Vanderbilt University, the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business at Belmont University, the Linda and Mike Curb Institute for Advanced Medical Education at St. Thomas Hospital, the Curb Institute for Music at Rhodes College in Memphis, the Fisk University Jubilee Chair, the Curb Victory Hall for homeless veterans and over 100 other Tennessee charities. The Curb entities also own and have restored multiple historic sites across Tennessee including Elvis Presley’s former home in Memphis, RCA Studio B, Columbia Studio A, the Quonset Hut, and the Johnny Cash Collection in Nashville as well as other historic buildings on Nashville’s Music Row.
Mike Curb’s long history in business, philanthropy and government also includes serving as Acting Governor and elected Lieutenant Governor of California and President of the California state senate. He was a leader in the fight to stop California’s 1978 Briggs Initiative which would have banned gay schoolteachers. Mike Curb also served as co-chair of Ronald Reagan’s successful 1980 presidential campaign.
Curb Records and the Mike Curb Foundation are represented in their suit by Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison, attorney Abby Rubenfeld, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).