Tennessee Governor Signs Anti-Gay Adoption Bill

On Friday, January 24th, Tennessee governor Bill Lee signed a controversial bill.


Photo by Cameron While

Equality is a struggle that members of the LGBTQ face. Also religion based adoption agencies all face this. This passed bill is in favor of the religious adoption agencies.

Bill Lee signed into effect the controversial bill that allows religious adoption agencies to deny service to same-sex couples. This move was made even after advisement from multiple parties including the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

What Does This Law Do?

This law allows adoption agencies to refuse participation in child placement if said placement would “violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.” Under this law which takes effect immediately, the state is blocked from denying agencies licenses or grant applications for public funding because of refusal to place children with families based on religious objections. Gillum Ferguson Lee’s Spokesman said “The governor believes that protection of rights is important, especially religious liberty,” “This bill is centered around protecting the religious liberty of Tennesseans and that’s why he signed it.”

Who Does This Affect?

Groups like the Campaign for Southern Equality and the Human Rights Campaign are upset as this legislation is targeted against the LGBTQ community, but others say the components of the legislation like religious conservatives were necessary to help protect faith-based groups. The president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission said in a column posted in The Tennessean “The legislation puts children first and argued that it does not promote discrimination.” Stating that the law doesn’t prevent other agencies from helping children. Moore again in this column said “This law prevents the state from discriminating against faith-based organizations as they serve and meet the needs of children. It does not restrict others at all.”

Lee’s signature comes after about a week that state Senate approved the bill with a 20-6 vote with objection from several republicans. With the bill signed into action, many opposers are trying to figure out how they can proceed and possibly take legal actions. The executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara said “This law is clearly discriminatory. As long as the LGBTQ community continues to be targeted by discriminatory laws, we will turn to the courts for recourse.”

Other states, including Michigan, have tried implementing similar laws but they’ve been halted in court. Rev Beach-Ferrara said, “We anticipate that litigation around discrimination focused on adoption will continue to unfold, and the Tennessee law signed today will be part of that conversation.”

LGBTQ Adoption Facts

In the United States, 83% of public agencies reported making at least one adoption placement with a lesbian or gay man. Whereas one-third of adoption agencies have rejected a gay or lesbian applicant due to state laws or religious beliefs. In 2007 an estimate of 65,000 adopted children was living with LGBTQ parents, and California is the state with the largest number of LGBTQ adoptions.

The United States has come a long way with human rights, and this isn’t necessarily a step in the wrong direction as this protects the religious objections of a group. It just happens to affect and harm another group of people that already are facing discrimination.

Source: NBC News
Lifelong Adoptions