MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Tennessee legislature started off its year on a controversial note. The Senate passed a bill Tuesday that allows religious adoption agencies to deny adoptions based on religious and moral beliefs.
This bill was a hold over from the 2019 legislative session.
Still, some lawmakers are disappointed the year has started with the passing of a bill that could stop the adoption of children.
“This bill does not in any way prohibit the placement of a child in a non-traditional, again a home that represents a mom and a dad,” said Senator Paul Rose. “This bill simply protects freedom to place children in homes that agree with their stated religious and moral convictions.”
As the bill reads, it could impact same-sex couples along with couples with differing religious beliefs looking to expand their family.
Several lawmakers questioned if this was in the best interest of children. Others expressed fears this law could have statewide impacts financially deterring businesses or large events like the NFL draft from picking Tennessee.
“This is people who are taking children, whose parents have surrendered custody and who are wards of the state and then we are choosing where they can live out the rest of their life or whether they are ever going to make it to a family,” said Senator Jeff Yarbro of Nashville.
One day after the vote we caught up with Senator Raumesh Akbari, one of the six senators to vote against the bill.
Senator Akbari says right now there are roughly 10,000 children in state custody.
“If you’re going to turn away a loving home, a safe and happy family for that child to be in to have a permanent home just because they might be in a LGBTQ relationship it’s just wrong.” she said.
According to Governor Lee’s office, once the bill reaches his desk he plans to sign it.