Tennessee legislators have passed a new bill targeting LGBTQ+ individuals who hope to adopt or provide foster care in the state. This adoption bill allows child placement agencies to discriminate against any group that clashes with the organization’s religious ideals or internal policies. If Governor Bill Lee signs the bill into law, these agencies can legally decide not to allow children to be placed in homes of LGBTQ individuals. Despite concerns surrounding LGBTQ foster parents and adoptive parents, the new law would be open to interpretation. This means if an agency decides unmarried people, Catholics, atheists, or any other subset of society should not care for children, the agency can refuse to place children with said subset.
YOUR DOLLARS MAY FUND DISCRIMINATION.
This is problematic for a lot of reasons. First, these agencies will continue to receive tax-payer money for their work, despite discriminating against tax-paying individuals.
Second and most importantly, there are thousands of kids who need a family. Unfortunately, sometimes a child must be removed from a home to be safe. Upon removal, other relatives may take the child into their care. However, a biological relative is not always readily available. This is where foster care and adoption enter as alternatives. There are nearly 8,000 children in the Tennessee foster care system. In contrast, there are less than 4,000 foster families in the state. This adoption bill would make that discrepancy even more drastic.
Families come in all shapes and sizes. The 8,000 kids in Tennessee foster care system deserve loving homes. Legislators need to work toward increasing the number of foster families, rather than limiting them. Anyone with the means, compassion, and love to care for a child in need of a home should have the support they need to make sure our state’s children are not forgotten or left behind.
You can contact Governor Bill Lee’s office here.