ACLU Tennessee urges governor not to sign adoption bill into law

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In this July 9, 2019, file photo Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for the new soccer club stadium in East Ridge, Tenn. Tennessee would become the first state in the nation to receive its Medicaid funding in a lump sum under a proposal seeking to drastically overhaul the program that provides […]

NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee has sent a letter to Governor Bill Lee urging him not to sign a proposal that would allow continued funding for religious organizations even if they turn away LGBTQ families based on their religious beliefs.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter which called the potential legislation “damaging to children.”

“Laws like HB 836 are not only damaging to children; they also unconstitutionally infringe on religious liberty,” said Executive Director Hedy Weinberg. “While their supporters claim they advance religious liberty, they do the opposite by authorizing the use of a religious test to participate in a government program.”

Weingberg claimed the measure would also have a negative impact on children because the organizations would be limiting the number of families qualified to take care of them.

The ACLU has filed lawsuits against the states of South Carolina and Michigan over similiar legislation.

Lee told reporters in January that he would sign the legislation into law.

Supporters of the bill say it would help protect religious organizations from potential lawsuits.

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