Tennessee law permits persons who identify as LGBTQ+ to adopt children to the same extent as persons identifying as heterosexual and cisgender, so long as they meet the general requirements for adoption under Tennessee law.
However, persons identifying as LGBTQ+ should be aware that Tennessee law does not require private adoption agencies—even those that get public funding—to “participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.” Tenn. Code Ann. §36-1-147.
Tennessee law gives private adoption agencies the license to discriminate against prospective adopting parents that identify as LGBTQ+ without fear of being sued or denied a license to operate—so long as they have a written policy saying that such adoptions violate the agency’s religious or moral convictions.
Even though Tennessee law allows private adoption agencies to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity, many of them choose not to. Two examples (non-exhaustive) of such agencies in the East Tennessee area are Harmony Family Center (see Guest Post here) and Destiny Adoption and Consulting Services.
At Held Law Firm, we are proud to offer adoption services to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. And, if any part of your adoption—such as a home study—does require working with a private agency—we will do the leg work to identify an agency that is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about working with LGBTQ+ parents.
Give us a call at (865) 685-4780 ~~Margaret