LGBTQ couples looking to start a family in Tennessee should probably look for a better state, as the Tennessee Senate has passed a bill allowing adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
According to The Tennessean, the bill sponsored by Republican Senator Paul Rose allows adoption agencies to refuse LGBTQ couples should it violate the agencies’ “written religious or moral convictions or policies.” Aside from that, adoption agencies who refuse to serve LGBTQ couples will also be protected from lawsuits if these objections are based on religion. The state is also prohibited from denying these agencies licenses or grant applications for public funds.
Blocking the bill in the Tennessee Senate was always going to be an uphill battle with only five Democrats. The bill passed 20-6, with five Republicans abstaining. Republican Senator Steve Dickerson from Nashville was the only Republican to vote with the Democrats against the bill.
Dickerson was especially worried about how the bill would impact Tennessee’s tourism sector, revealing that a number of conventions and events have been looking at Tennessee and asking about the status of the bill. The National Hockey League (NHL), the NCAA basketball playoffs, and the NFL draft were some of the events and businesses mentioned.
“I think we can probably kiss that goodbye,” Dickerson told The Tennessean.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee says he will sign the bill into law as soon as it reaches his office.
Currently, Tennessee has no anti-discrimination laws for sexual orientation. There is also a law that prohibits the state from altering the sex on a birth certificate. Tennessee does have hate crime laws that include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Same-sex marriages are allowed, thanks to the 2015 Supreme Court ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges.
Adam4Adam blog readers in Tennessee, what is the situation like on the ground? How does this affect you? Tell us about it in the comments section below.