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Gay Adoption: Prepare for legislative battle

The polemic surrounding legal rights for GLBT [Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgendered) people to adopt children is clearly well established. Every few years, the question is revisited, either as part of a moral debate or as a legal battle. During the next few months, we can anticipate introduction of this question, once again, in the Legislature. We should begin by considering some important facts.

First, according to the Human Rights Commission (HRC), the following are the particulars regarding adoption by same sex couples in our state:

  • Single GLBT people may adopt children
  • There is no explicit prohibition against adoption for same-sex couples;
  • It is unclear as to whether or not a person can adopt the child of a same-sex partner.

Second, there are currently no bills in the Legislature that would restrict the rights of GLBT individuals or couples to adopt.

So, where’s the “problem” and why are we talking about a “battle?”

In a response to a request by Wilson County Circuit Judge Clara Byrd, Tennessee’s Attorney General Bob Cooper made a ruling on October 11 regarding the position of the state’s constitution on adoption by same-sex couples. Cooper, in his response, stated that it was his opinion that provided that it is in the best interest of the child, gay couples can adopt in the State of Tennessee. He found nothing in the adoption statutes that would challenge the joint adoption of a child by a gay or lesbian couple.

Because of this ruling, a push has begun to ban gay adoption. Glen Casada (R), Representative from the 63rd District of Tennessee, has indicated in a recent [Nashville] City Paper article that he will introduce legislation against adoption by gay parents in the 2008 legislation session, beginning on January 8.

Representative Casada’s quixotic pursuit, intending to introduce discriminatory legislation, is not new. In 2005, he co-sponsored a bill, which attempted to achieve the exact same goal. That bill failed.

What can you do to stop Representative Casada in yet another attempt to legalize discrimination in Tennessee? The Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) needs your help. Please plan to attend our organizational meeting for TEP Montgomery Country on November 12 at 7:00 PM. The meeting will take place at the Borders Bookstore Café at 2801 Wilma Rudolph Blvd. in Clarksville. If you have any questions, please inquire by sending an email message to Todd Hughes at todd@tnequalityproject.org .

The author of this article would like to thank Mr. Christopher Sanders, Chair and President of the Tennessee Equality Project for his collaboration in this effort.

Todd Hugheshttp://
I'm the Director of the Language Center at Vandebilt University. I'm also interested in GLBT issues, and serve as the Middle Tennessee Coordinator for the Tennessee Equality Project. I'm here to serve you in the Clarksville area!

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