A Tennessee lawmaker has abandoned his controversial bill that has made waves across the state, and right here in the Tennessee Valley.
State Senator Mike Bell stood before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday evening.
That bill would have allowed businesses and organizations to refuse service to same-sex couples.. based on religious beliefs.
The bill would have protected people with strong religious objections from lawsuits if they refuse services to gay couples. Opponents, however, rallied at Ross' Landing Tuesday morning, before traveling to Nashville, to send a different message.
"I was horrified. It was something I'd never thought I'd never even have to worry about, that this would never be a concern. So I think by the implications of it, if it were to pass, would this mean businesses would have a no gays allowed sign in their windows?" says Marcus Ellsworth with the Tennessee Equality Party.
Daniel Weaver is a server and Manager at Macaroni Grill in Chattanooga. He says his restaurant won't be participating no matter what the vote may be.
"I'm an openly gay man that serves tables .I have a lot of regular guests that come in and enjoy my service. They enjoy my company. Most importantly, they can see past the ignorance that this bill is trying to put forth," says Weaver.
The news is generating mixed reactions through the Tennessee Valley.
"If they want to go to an institution that agrees with their religious beliefs then let them go. But a person shouldn't have to serve a group of people if he doesn't believe in the same religious beliefs that they do," says Tom Rogers.
"If they believe that in their heart, that they cannot accept gay people, then of course. It's their business. They also have a choice to close. It's their business. They can do what they want the same as gays have the right to go eat somewhere else," says resident Elizabeth Sprecha.
What Bell's decision means is that this bill can be brought up again in committee but not for another calendar year. By Alyssa Spirato