Governor signs Tennessee ‘natural and ordinary’ meaning bill

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has signed legislation requiring words in Tennessee law to be interpreted as having their “natural and ordinary meaning.” Gay rights groups call it a sneaky way of denying same-sex couples the legal rights and protections granted to a “husband,” a “wife,” a “father” or “mother.”

Haslam signed the bill on Friday, saying he believes the law will do nothing to change how state judges comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

The Family Action Council campaigned for the law, saying it should prevent judges from defining husband or wife as the gender-neutral “spouse.” GLAAD Vice President Zeke Stokes said the law sets a “dangerous precedent” that could delegitimize LGBT couples and transgender people in Tennessee.