Gov. Lee expected to sign controversial bill allowing some adoption agencies to deny LGBT families

TENNESSEE — A controversial bill banning LGBT couples from adopting from some agencies is headed to the Governor’s desk.

The bill would allow privately licensed agencies to deny adoptions to same-sex couples based on the agency’s religious or moral beliefs.

LGBT Advocacy groups aren’t happy about this law.

The Tennessee Equality Project is calling this tax-funded discrimination, but some lawmakers said this is all about protecting faith-based agencies being forced out of business.

State lawmakers said there are about 10,000 children in Tennessee’s Child Welfare System.

If a new bill becomes law, faith-based foster care and adoption agencies that received state funding would be allowed to deny LBGT families and others based on religious beliefs.

"It simply states if this goes against placing a child in the home where there’s not a traditional mom and dad you don’t, you can’t be forced to do so or they can’t deny licensure or funding, " said Senator Paul Rose.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Senator Paul Rose, defended the controversial bill before the vote.

FOX13 reached out to Senator Rose Thursday for an interview, but he wasn’t available.

In a written statement to FOX13 Rose said, “This bill gives faith-based adoption agencies more protection to continue the work they have done for decades without fear they will be forced out of business, as has been in several states.”

The Tennessee Equality Project, a statewide non-profit, wants Governor Bill Lee to veto the bill.

“We’re talking about thousands of Tennessean children who need loving homes and... we’re taking about couples, families who are willing to sacrifice to provide those loving homes and their own state is saying we’re turning your back,” said Shahin Samiei with the Tennessee Equity Project.

They believe the bill open the door for more discrimination and hurts the state’s reputation.

“This could keep people of Tennessee, this could keep conventions out of Tennessee, keep sports of Tennessee because of a discriminatory bill that paints us in a very terrible light. We know Tennessee is better than this,” said Samiei,

Governor Lee’s office said he is expected to sign the bill.