Tennessee Governor Bill Lee Signs Discriminatory Adoption and Foster Care Bill into Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Today, Tennessee became the first state in the nation to sign anti-LGBTQ legislation into law in 2020. HB836/SB1304 allows taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against prospective foster and adoptive parents and will reduce the number of families available to foster and adopt children in Tennessee. 

“By signing this bill into law, Governor Lee is aligning Tennessee with a small group of states that have broken the cardinal rule of child welfare — that the needs of children should come first,” said The Rev. Stan J. Sloan, CEO of Family Equality, “These ‘license to discriminate’ laws hurt all children in need of a foster or adoptive family by reducing the pool of potential parents, allowing agencies to refuse to place children with those who do not meet an agency’s religious criteria — whether they are close relatives who  are LGBTQ, or a foster or adoptive family of another faith. We are deeply disappointed to see Governor Lee disregard the needs of some of the most vulnerable children in Tennessee.”

Family Equality is committed to continuing to fight on behalf of LGBTQ+ families and for child welfare systems that are free from discrimination. Family Equality is proud to lead the national Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign, bringing together a broad coalition of organizations from across the political spectrum, including child welfare organizations, child welfare professionals, advocacy and civil rights organizations, and current and former foster youth with lived experience in the child welfare system. Campaign members are united in the belief that no otherwise qualified foster or adoptive parent should be turned away due to their marital status, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

About Family Equality

Family Equality advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ+ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change. Family Equality believes every LGBTQ+ person should have the right and opportunity to form and sustain a loving family, regardless of who they are or where they live. Learn more at familyequality.org.

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