As many of you may have heard, there has been an anti-gay discriminatory adoption ban posed by 2 legislators from Tennessee, Senator Paul Stanley and Representative John DeBerry. The bill states:
“The public policy of this state is to favor marriage, as defined by the constitution and laws of this state, over unmarried sexual cohabitation. It is also the public policy of this state to place children into adoptive families that provide the most stable familial relationships for that child and will foster an appreciation for the policies of this state that favor marriage over unmarried cohabitation. The general assembly specifically finds that it is not in a child’s best interest to be adopted by a person who is cohabitating in a sexual relationship that is not a legally valid and binding marriage under the constitution and laws of this state. Therefore: a minor may not be adopted if the individual seeking to adopt is cohabiting outside of a marriage that is valid under the constitution and laws of this state.
Senator Stanley has added his own thoughts to the bill, saying that
“"We were having a lot of [unmarried] individuals apply to adopt children from state custody.....And while single people can make very good parents, what we were finding is that some of those individuals were in same-sex relationships," he points out. "And we just thought it was not advantageous to have children who are the responsibility of the state being placed in such homes." Stanley believes married, heterosexual couples provide the best climate for raising children. "I don't think you can put a child in a home with two individuals of the same sex and meet the needs -- the emotional, the physical, the mental needs of that child to be a well-developed child as they move into adulthood," he contends.
We are encouraging you to act – contact your legislator or write a letter for your local newspaper. When contacting your legislator, please make sure you correctly identify the bills: SB0078 in the Senate and HB0605 in the House. To contact your representative, click here. Tell them you do not support these anti-gay and anti-family bills. Encourage your representative to only support legislation that supports all of our families, including our LGBT loved ones.
The Tri Cities, TN chapter (covering the Bristol, Kingsport, and Johnson City areas) has sample letters that you can use to write your legislator or your local newspaper. For copies of these letters, please visit their blog.
-Erin Cranford Williams