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Tennessee’s GOP Governor Signs Bill Allowing State Adoption Agencies To Reject Gay Couples


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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) on Friday signed a measure that assures continued taxpayer funding of faith-based foster care and adoption agencies who refuse to place children with same-sex parents, drawing backlash from gay-rights advocates.

The law, which goes into effect immediately, protects adoption agencies who believe the placement of a child in a same-sex home would “violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies,” The Tennessean reported.

“The governor believes that protection of rights is important, especially religious liberty,” Lee spokesman Gillum Ferguson told the outlet. “This bill is centered around protecting the religious liberty of Tennesseans and that’s why he signed it.”

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The bill also prohibits the state from denying an agency’s licenses or grant applicants for public funds based on its child placement refusals.

The measure, which previously passed the state House last April, passed the Tennessee Senate 20-6 earlier this month.

Republican State Sen. Steve Dickerson broke with his party to vote against the measure, along with the Senate’s five Democrats. An additional five GOP senators did not vote.

The measure was endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. LGBTQ rights groups, including the Tennessee Equality Project and the national group Lambda Legal, strongly opposed the measure.

“Shame on @GovBillLee for signing it into law,” LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD wrote on Twitter.

A handful of states to date have enacted similar legislation including Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, South Dakota, North Dakota, Virginia, Mississippi and Michigan. But Michigan agreed in settling an ACLU lawsuit to no longer turn away LGBTQ couples or individuals because of religious objections.

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The post Tennessee’s GOP Governor Signs Bill Allowing State Adoption Agencies To Reject Gay Couples appeared first on The Gaily Grind.


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