Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, a
Republican, said on Tuesday that he will sign into law an adoption
bill that opponents say discriminates against LGBT families.
The bill, House Bill 836, cleared the
House in April. The GOP-controlled Senate overwhelmingly (20-6)
approved the bill on the first day of the 2020 legislative session
and sent it to Lee for his signature. One Republican, Senator Steve
Dickerson, joined the Senate's five Democrats in voting against the
According to NBC
News, Chris Walker, Lee's communication director, said Tuesday
evening in a statement that Lee would sign the bill.
House Bill 836 prohibits the state from
requiring adoption agencies to place a child in a home that violates
“the agency's written religious or moral convictions.”
Other states with similar laws include
Virginia, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi,
North Dakota, and South Dakota.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, criticized the bill as a
“license to discriminate” against the LGBT community.
“Lawmakers in Tennessee used some of
the first minutes of their legislative session to enshrine
discrimination into law,” HRC President Alphonso David said in a
statement. “These legislators are disregarding the best interests
of kids in the child welfare system to create a ‘license to
discriminate’ against qualified, loving prospective parents. This
bill does nothing to improve the outcomes for children in care,
shrinks the pool of prospective parents and is a blatant attempt to
discriminate against LGBTQ Tennesseans. It is shameful that one of
the first orders of business in Nashville was to target LGBTQ people.
We urge Tennesseans to make their voices heard in opposition to this
bill as it heads to the governor’s desk.”