Nashville DA Refuses To Enforce Transgender Bathroom Law

Photo: Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk

Photo Credit: da.nashville.gov & public domain

Published June 10, 2021

The Tennessee Conservative Staff –

Despite increased pressure from lawmakers, Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk continues to refuse to enforce Tennessee’s new law that requires businesses to post transgender-friendly bathroom signs.

Tennessee Capitol Building in Nashville

Governor Bill Lee signed the bill in May requiring all businesses and government facilities to post signs if they allow transgender individuals to use public restrooms, locker rooms, or changing rooms that are labeled with their gender identity.

A week after the bill was signed into law, Funk released a statement saying that his office would “not promote hate”

Funk has been asked repeatedly by Representative John Ragan of Oak Ridge to clarify his position. Ragan is the chair of the House Government Operations Committee.

Last month, Ragan said Funk’s refusal to comply is “more than marginally offensive to the concept of constitutionally ordered government.”

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In a second letter to Funk on Monday, Ragan asked again for an explanation of his stance on the issue.

Ragan also stated that a “continued failure to respond may force me, as the chair of a standing committee, to convene such and call you before it to address this issue.”

Funk finally responded with a letter on Wednesday. 

“My office is devoted to public safety, prosecuting violent crimes and supporting victims. However, this law does not accomplish those goals,” Funk wrote. “Instead, it only dehumanizes transgender people and falsely portrays them as predators. History is blemished by far too many examples of the government openly discriminating against LGBTQ individuals.”

Ragan did acknowledge that district attorneys do have the authority to exercise some prosecutorial discretion when it comes to criminal cases.

“Nonetheless, such discretion is not totally without limits,” Ragan wrote. “Regrettably, a blanket statement such as the press attributed to you appears to constitute a transgression of such limits.”

Ragan continued, “To wit, consider that courts have opined other branches of government are not empowered to substitute their own policy judgments for those of the General Assembly or to adopt a construction that is clearly contrary to the intent of the General Assembly.”

Funk, however, disagreed with Ragan’s interpretation.

“Each branch of government is given the power to ‘check’ the power of the other two branches and act as a ‘balance’ to prevent any one branch from having too much power over the people or another governmental branch,” Funk wrote.

Funk noted that, according to the Tennessee Constitution, district attorneys would be considered a part of the judicial branch.

The new law goes into effect on July, making it a class B misdemeanor to be found in violation of it. However, despite the bill’s sponsor, Representative Tim Rudd of Murfreesboro, stating that there would be criminal penalties, no penalties or fines were included in the bill.

Funk says that legislators made a mistake by not contacting the District Attorneys Conference before passing the law.

“The Legislature…certain should have if this law was meant to contain criminal sanctions,” he wrote.

Lt. Governor Randy McNally has previously stated that he did not foresee the law resulting in any criminal penalties.

“I think it’s like the signs about washing your hands if you come out of the bathroom. I don’t think it will be enforced,” McNally said at a bill-signing event on June 2.

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9 thoughts on “Nashville DA Refuses To Enforce Transgender Bathroom Law

  • June 10, 2021 at 3:51 pm
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    So we Conservatives can chose to disregard any law we don’t like from Biden and the Democrats including increased taxes?

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  • June 10, 2021 at 4:03 pm
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    Well, it seems to me we have a prosecutor who is picking and choosing which laws need to be enforced. Perhaps those who elected him to office need to remove him from office.
    And it is refreshing that the Lt. Governor admits that the legislature passed a law for show only.

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  • June 10, 2021 at 5:36 pm
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    Either do your job or resign. Your salary is paid by the people of TN. If one person gets hurt because you didn’t follow the law you will be responsible.

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  • June 10, 2021 at 5:58 pm
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    The fact is that transgender people, of which I am one, do not go to bathrooms to commit crimes of any kind. We’re not pedophiles to be feared as Governor Lee would have everyone believe, we’re basically normal people in most ways. Obviously being trans isn’t the norm, but there is no reason to single us out as deviants, staking out bathrooms to accost unwitting victims. We’re humans and deserve to be treated as such. Governor Lee and Rep. Rudd don’t understand this and refuse to even make a half-hearted attempt to do so.

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  • June 10, 2021 at 6:03 pm
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    Law means nothing to dimmercraps.

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  • June 10, 2021 at 6:40 pm
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    Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk is taking a common sense approach to the bathroom issue for the following reasons:
    1. No one should have to agree or comply with anyone else’s version of “reality”.
    2. Mr. Funk could use the reason for not complying with transgenders by letting them know it could reduce potential violence. There are many who would defend their family members from being exposed to such people.
    3. In public places, there could be restrooms which could have “unisex” on the door. Currently, these are for either sex and typically have only one toilet. This would be different than “family bathrooms” as some parents use them for changing their child’s diapers or to help them use the “potty”.
    4. Common sense still goes a long way. Consider this: Is a transgender man using the ladies room merely relieving himself or making a political statement? Who would have ever thought using a bathroom could be used in such a fashion? My, how times have changed!

    Thank you for your time and consideration of my points of view.

    Reply
  • June 10, 2021 at 8:29 pm
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    I agree with Mr. Funk. I further believe that every business that seeks to allow transgenders to use their bathrooms, which they should…could very simply solve this problem by providing a “third choice” bathroom after “Men” and “Women” and label it “Everything else”. This should be the bathroom used by transgenders, transsexuals, asexuals, and anyone else who considers themselves not of the biological gender God gave them. Because those of us who do accept what the Lord assigned to us should not have to be subjected to not even knowing who or what “gender” is in the bathroom with us! Problem solved…

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  • June 10, 2021 at 11:07 pm
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    I’m so tired of being confused. Give me this information straight!! Does this article state that DA Funk does NOT want signs put up if the bathrooms are for anyone? In other words, he is not for warning parents with young children that someone from the opposite sex may be exposed in that certain bathroom? And he wants to take away our right to choose the bathroom in which we feel safest, correct?

    Reply
  • June 10, 2021 at 11:27 pm
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    The design of the sign is absolutely terrible. I agree that business should acknowledge if they are letting transgender individuals to use restrooms so customers are aware that someone of the opposite sex is using the facilities, but the design of the sign is just not good.

    Reply

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