A new controversial bill was passed by the Tennessee Senate recently. U.S. News reports that the bill, which would require state law to be interpreted in the “natural and ordinary meaning,” was passed with a 23 to 6 vote in the state senate on April 27, 2017. A different bill asking for similar interpretation of the law, where words are not interpreted in a more inclusive manner than was written, explicitly stated familial terms such as “mother,” “father,” “husband” and ‘wife” needed to use their ordinary definition. The bill came in response to a child custody case concerning a same-sex couple, which raised similar interpretation issues.
This has put many LGBT groups on edge, and critics of the bill are calling for Governor Bill Haslam to veto it if it passes the House. The lawmaker who introduced the bill is Republican Sen. John Stevens from Huntingdon, who says that the bill is not intended to affect the LGBT community, but he admits that it is unclear if the law would harm same-sex couples from being able to have children or get married.
In Alabama, Salon reports that a bill seemingly trying to bar same-sex couples from adoption is heading toward the governor’s desk. The bill, which passed with a 23 to 9 vote, would prevent the state from revoking adoption agency licenses from those who refuse child placement due to “religious beliefs of the provider,” which could include agencies that do not allow same-sex couples to adopt. However this law could have a wider impact. If the bill is signed into law, “atheists, single parents, interfaith families, divorcees and unmarried couples” could all potentially be turned away from certain adoption agencies or foster care centers.