Tennessee state senators approved legislation Jan. 14 that would prohibit the state from forcing Christian or other faith-based adoption agencies to place children in homes that would “violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.”
Senate Bill 1304 passed the Senate by a margin of 20-6. Sen. Steve Dickerson of Nashville was the only Republican voting against the bill, joining the chamber’s five Democrats, according to an article in The Tennessean.
The bill will now go to Gov. Bill Lee for his signature, having passed the house last year by a 67-32 margin.
The bill was opposed by gay rights activist groups and those who felt the bill would have a negative impact on the state’s economy.
Dickerson, in speaking against the legislation, said passage of the bill could cause the state to suffer an adverse financial impact because of “bad public policy,” The Tennessean reported.
Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, praised the legislation.
“I am thankful to live in a state where the governmental leadership respects religious liberty,” Davis said.
“This adoption bill recognizes the biblical values of Christian adoption agencies in Tennessee and provides a measure of protection as these values are exercised. I am confident that Gov. Lee will sign the bill into law,” he added.
Greg McCoy, president of Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes, supported the legislation even though TBCH “really does not have a dog in that fight because we don’t accept government funding.”
He noted the bill “does provide another layer of protection” for faith-based adoption agencies such as TBCH.
McCoy noted the law is not about denying the gay community the opportunity to adopt. The bill does not keep homosexuals from being involved in adoption but “protects faith-based adoption agencies from going against their beliefs,” he said.
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Source: Baptist Press