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Tennessee just passed a bill to stop same-sex parents from adopting

Emma Powys Maurice January 15, 2020
Adoption

Adoption agencies in Tennessee can now legally refuse LGBT+ couples (Envato Elements)

The Tennessee state senate has started out the year by signing a bill that will allow faith-based adoption and foster agencies the ability to discriminate against LGBT+ people.

The bill declares that no licensed adoption agency would be required to participate in a child placement with an LGBT+ family if doing so would “violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies”.

Some faith-based agencies in Tennessee already do not allow gay couples to adopt, but this move would provide legal protections to those agencies, as well as ensuring government funding.

The measure was first passed by the Republican-controlled senate in April last year, and on Tuesday, January 14, Tennessee governor Bill Lee announced that he would be signing the bill into law, ignoring the many warnings of the possible negative consequences for the state’s reputation.

Before the Senate vote, Lee reportedly said he had not even read the two-page bill.

Just one Republican, state senator Steve Dickerson, joined the senate’s five Democrats in opposition of the bill. “We are off to a fine start this session,” he joked.

He raised concern that it would allow certain groups to place restrictions on the families where adoptive or foster children could be sent, saying: “I expect that waiting list to increase somewhat.”

He added: “This will have a direct fiscal impact on the state, not to mention the humanitarian impact and emotional impact on those children who … will now be in a foster setting for a longer time.”

Tennessee is now one of several other states to have enacted similar legislation against LGBT+ couples, including Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, South Dakota, Virginia and Michigan.

“This bill is solely about freedom,” claimed senator Paul Rose, the Republican sponsor of the bill.

He conceded that the bill wasn’t actually necessary as the Trump administration is already proposing a rule that would impose the same measures, but he is advancing the bill anyway in the event that Trump is not reelected this year.

More: adoption, fostering, lgbt families, Tennessee

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