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In first bill of the year, Tennessee Senate passes legislation allowing adoption agencies to deny gay couples

Natalie Allison, Nashville Tennessean • Jan 14, 2020 at 8:28 PM

The Tennessee state Senate started the 2020 legislative session passing its first bill of the year: a controversial measure that protects religious adoption agencies if they choose to discriminate against same-sex couples.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Paul Rose, R-Covington, declares that no licensed adoption agency would be required to participate in a child placement if doing so would "violate the agency's written religious or moral convictions or policies."

It also prohibits the state from denying an agency's license or grant application for public funds because of the group's refusal to place a child with a family based on religious objections. The adoption agency would also be protected from lawsuits for such a refusal.

The Senate passed the bill 20-6, with five Republican members declining to vote on the measure, including Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge.

Read more from The Tennessean.