Tennessee lawmakers have thrown their support behind legislation that defends the rights of faith-based adoption agencies.
Gov. Bill Lee has announced he will sign the bill, which states that Tennessee will continue working with faith-based agencies even if they refuse to place children with homosexuals and lesbians, The Associated Press reported.
David Fowler of the Family Action Council of Tennessee says the new law will not impact Tennessee like it would affect politicians and opponents in a liberal state such as California.
“The reason is that Tennessee has no general laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” Fowler explains. “So private organizations in Tennessee aren't under that kind of constriction that could apply, for example, to a Christian adoption agency.”
That doesn’t mean Gov. Lee and Republicans aren’t under pressure over backing the measure: Numerous media outlets from The Associated Press to NBC News proclaim in headlines the GOP governor is signing an “anti-LGBT” or “anti-gay” bill, equating his signature with approving discrimination.
The legislation passed on the first day of the session, and the AP story quotes a Republican lawmaker, who opposed the bill, joking that it wasted the legislature’s time.
Faith-based adoption agencies, however, have been punished in recent years over accusations that holding to their faith equates to hate and discrimination. Liberal states such as Illinois and Massachusetts have punished, for example, Catholic Charities for refusing to change its policy.
Fowler tells OneNewsNow the Tennessee law protects those adoption agencies if a future governor tries to force Christian adoption agencies to change their policies, which would mean ignoring their own beliefs about biblical marriage and the family.