Governor Lee to sign anti-LGBT adoption bill into law

Governor Lee to sign anti-LGBT adoption bill into law by AP via WRBC TV

The bill was the first to pass on the opening day of the 2020 legislative session.

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced Tuesday that he’ll sign into law a measure that would assure continued taxpayer funding of faith-based foster care and adoption agencies even if they exclude LGBT families and others based on religious beliefs.

The GOP-controlled Senate gave the bill final passage on the first day of the 2020 legislative session after it was initially approved by the House last April. The bill was sent to the Republican governor amid warnings by critics of possible negative consequences for Tennessee’s reputation.

Lee’s communication director, Chris Walker, confirmed in a statement Tuesday evening that the governor would sign the bill. Earlier, before the Senate vote, Lee declined to weigh in after saying he had not read the two-page bill.

“We are off to a fine start this session,” state Sen. Steve Dickerson joked while debating against the bill earlier as the lone Republican opposed.

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

Nationally, supporters argue such measures are needed to protect against potential lawsuits hostile to the group’s religious beliefs. However, critics counter that the proposals attack LGBT rights and limit the number of qualified families seeking t o adopt or foster needy children.

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

Rose conceded he thought the bill wasn’t necessary, pointing out that President Donald Trump’s administration is currently proposing a rule that would impose the same protections. Yet he said he advanced the bill this year because there was no guarantee Trump would be reelected later this year.

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