TN conservative pastors rally, pray in support of transgender student bathroom bill

Representatives from the Center for Equality, American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, LGBT supporters and members of the Human Rights Campaign stand on the front steps of the State Capitol to honor Trans Kids Support Visibility Day in Pierre, S.D. on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. Gov. Dennis Daugaard heard from several transgender people during a meeting Tuesday at the Capitol, where advocates gathered to urge the governor to veto a bill that would require students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their sex at birth.

NASHVILLE - Conservative pastors rallied and prayed today in support of a controversial transgender student bathroom bill with Family Action Council President David Fowler calling on Tennessee lawmakers to show "courage" and "put their principles and their conscience above matters of mere economics."

The bill, opposed by some 60 major corporations including Cigna Health which has a large presence, is scheduled to come up later today in House and Senate finance panels.

Fowler, who was joined by some 30 pastors in front of an escalator heading up to the state Capitol, urged lawmakers to ignore the "false prophecies of gloom and doom" and companies and business groups retaliating against Tennessee by refusing to locate or expand operations and cancel conventions.

"By being here today, we hope that we can lend courage to the many in our Legislature who believe that little girl and that young woman deserve respect for their privacy and, moreover, deserve protection from those in our society who have shown that they will take advantage of the situation when public policy regarding bathrooms and locker rooms shifts from a biological understanding of sex to a psychological one," said Fowler, a former state senator from Signal Mountain.