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Another Adoption Ban Looms in Tennessee

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February 18, 2009

Right now, our country is in the midst of the worst recession in recent history. The global financial system is facing a crisis of historic proportions. Government entities, from small school districts to the State of California, are facing budget nightmares and even financial insolvency. And in this environment, what have two members of the Tennessee legislature decided is a top priority? Preventing kids from getting adopted.

State Senator Paul Stanley (R-Memphis) and State Representative John DeBerry (D-Memphis) have introduced a bill that would prohibit cohabiting, unmarried couples from adopting in Tennessee. From among the dozens of reasons this law is a bad idea, let me mention just two. First, and most importantly, it would deny thousands of children the chance to be adopted into stable, loving homes simply because their potential parents are not — or cannot get — married in Tennessee. Second, it would interfere with parents’ right to determine who they want their children to be raised by in the event of their own death. You might think your lesbian sister and her partner would be the best people to raise your child if something happened to you, but under this law, the state of Tennessee wouldn’t allow it.

Yesterday, Eric Lulow, a former foster child himself, wrote an eloquent op-ed for The Tennessean about the damage that will be done to foster children if this law passes. The paper then went on to oppose the proposed law in its own editorial. Let’s hope that rational voices like these prevail in this debate. For the sake of the children.