Nashville, TN: SB1304, by Senator Paul Rose representing Tipton and part of Shelby Counties, is up for a vote on January 14 as the 111th General Assembly of the State of Tennessee convenes its 2020 session. Having passed the House in 2019, the bill’s Senate floor vote is the last stop before it heads to the Governor for consideration.
The bill would make private adoption and foster care agencies eligible for state government funds, even if they turn away prospective parents based on the agency’s religious views. It also protects them from lawsuits. Equality advocates argue that the bill will lead to increased discrimination against LGBTQ people and religious minorities, while leaving children with longer wait times for a loving, permanent home. The bill and other legislation making up what advocates call the “Slate of Hate” has been opposed by over 125 members of the clergy in Tennessee and many businesses.
Chris Sanders, executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project comments,
“ Starting the 2020 legislative session with a discriminatory bill is an ominous sign. If this bill passes, it will send a clear signal across the country that Tennessee is not welcoming to diverse communities and not open for business, all while accomplishing nothing to help children find a home.”
*Memphis-area journalists may arrange in-person interviews (firstname.lastname@example.org) on Monday evening around 6:00 p.m. at TEP’s legislative information session taking place at Mid-town Crossing Grill, located at 394 N. Watkins Street in Memphis.