Contemporary Expression

Equality Day on the Hill in Tennessee

As a founding member of TEP and a board member of the TEP Foundation I am proud of the great work accomplished by a growing crowd of friends and family to work toward full equality in Tennessee for all its citizens.

The mission of TEP is to promote and sustain the equality of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons in the state of Tennessee through the establishment of fair and equitable laws protecting these rights and the elimination of laws that would seek to counter this effort. Equality is meant to include the protection of human and civil rights and the elimination of prejudice and discrimination.

Today is Equality Day on the Hill. Hundreds of supporters from across the state will be speaking with their legislators today to let them know that we are not silent, we do vote, and we demand fairness.

Our goals are to promote equality throughout Tennessee and to serve as advocates of change by:

  • fighting any legislation in the State of Tennessee that would endanger the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered citizens
  • actively pursuing measures that would provide protection for the GLBT community at both the state and local levels
  • educating citizens on the importance of lobbying their elected officials
  • providing the resources and training to assist through statewide initiatives

There are several bills to keep eyes on by this one is gathering the most heat:

SB 3910 and HB 3713
Persons living together prohibited from adopting children.Prohibits any individual who is cohabitating in a sexual relationship outside of a marriage that is valid under the constitution and laws of this state from adopting a minor. Clarifies that this prohibition includes both cohabiting opposite-sex and same-sex individuals. (S: Stanley; H: DeBerry J.)

Joan and I can’t think of more mean spirited thing to do. The state of TN now allows single parent adoption and recent nation wide statistics indicate that 33% of lesbian couples and 25% of gay male couples have a child in the home. This bill may have as fiscal note of nearly 4 million dollars in costs to the state of TN.

Let me give you an example that I plan to share with Sen. Haynes today on the hill. My niece has been very ill, her husband is in the Air Force. They are both together and getting well on an air base with my beautiful niece’s 4 year old. If something were to go tragic and this child left for Joan and I to care for, this law would not allow me to adopt my own family. Joan will be together 21 years this spring, she has 25 years in early child care development and because of our loving relationship, this child, my own family, would not be allowed to share our home. I don’t expect the worst. That Air Force family will be fine. However, you have to plan as a responsible adult and prohibiting our right to adopt is something we are not willing to accept.

TEP is planning too – every day. Make a Donation to the Work Here

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