A bill will allow adoption and foster care agencies with policies that discriminate against LGBTQ families to still receive taxpayer funding while being protected from potential lawsuits for discrimination.
The Tennessee House of Representatives passed the bill last April. State Senators also approved it on the first day of the 2020 legislative session.
The new Republican governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, announced his intention to sign the bill into law last Tuesday.
“We are off to a fine start this session,” joked Senator Steven Dickerson, who is the only Republican to oppose the bill alongside five Democrats.
“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,” Dickerson said.
Currey Cook, counsel and director of LGBTQ organization Lambda Legal, also explained:
“The foster care system is at a critical juncture where it is required by new federal law to reduce the number of children placed in harmful group homes and to expand family home options for children who cannot safely return to their family of origin. “Children who need more homes, not fewer, should not suffer as part of efforts to chip away at equality for LGBTQ families,” he added.
Paul Rose, the Republican Senator who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said this “is solely about freedom.”
Nevertheless, he felt that the law wasn’t necessary given the national effort launched by the Trump Administration to discriminate against LGBTQ families.
The government of President Donald Trump proposed a rule to provide the same protections and guarantees for discriminatory adoption and to foster care agencies.
So why did they approve it if the law isn’t necessary? Well, it’s in case Trump doesn’t get reelected at the end of the year.
Seven states have passed similar legislation in recent years. They are:
- South Dakota
- and Michigan
Note that Michigan agreed in settling a lawsuit to no longer turn away LGBTQ couples or individuals because of religious objections.