Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Get Angry and Act

Now is a good time to contact your senator and representative regarding the adoption ban bill before the senate SB0078, introduced by Sen. Paul Stanley, and the companion house bill just introduced by Rep. John DeBerry HB0605.

Here is a pdf of the bill put forth by Stanley, which says:
The public policy of this state is to favor marriage, as defined by the constitution and laws of this state, over unmarried sexual cohabitation. It is also the public policy of this state to place children into adoptive families that provide the most stable familial relationships for that child and will foster an appreciation for the policies of this state that favor marriage over unmarried cohabitation. The general assembly specifically finds that it is not in a child’s best interest to be adopted by a person who is cohabitating in a sexual relationship that is not a legally valid and binding marriage under the constitution and laws of this state.
Therefore:
a minor may not be adopted if the individual seeking to adopt is cohabiting outside of a marriage that is valid under the constitution and laws of this state.
This bill is ignorant and mean to put it nicely. On behalf of every gay and lesbian couple (who cannot get married because of prejudice), yet who love and raise children that their natural parents are not able to raise, speak out.

This is not an abstraction. This is about real people, real lives, real children.

Discrimination is ugly and expensive.

Maybe the honorable Mssrs. Stanley and DeBerry would like to raise these children, pay for their education, food, clothing, shelter, and medical expenses? Or should we send them to the orphanage, forget about them, and let the taxpayers foot the bill?

It is time to get angry, beloveds. But don't just get angry and whine. Get angry and act.

Here is
contact information for your representatives. Handy to have.

Here is the link for these bills, HB0605 and SB0078. Make sure you identify the bill numbers correctly when you contact your legislator.

Also, the Tennessee Equality Project has a Facebook page to Defeat Tennessee's Proposed Adoption Ban.

That is the place to go for updates. Over 3100 people have joined this group.

Let's make some noise.


Since I live in Johnson City, my representative is Matthew Hill and my senator is Rusty Crowe. I sent an email to each of them. I sent each the same email but changing the bill number for house and senate, respectively. I offer this not as a model or anything, but that I write from my experience and my role in the community. I hope you can take the time to write an email, letter, or make a phone call.

This is a good opportunity to let them know that the Tri-Cities is not a pushover. We are growing. We are watching. We vote.

Dear Rep. Hill,

My name is John Shuck. I am a clergy person and I live in Johnson City. I am writing in regards to the bill introduced by Rep. John DeBerry on limiting adoption, HB0605. This is the companion bill to the one introduced in the Senate by Sen. Paul Stanley, SB0078

I hope that you will do everything in your power to defeat this bill. This legislation will hurt residents of Johnson City. I work with families on a daily basis. A couple in my church is raising a child. With this type of legislation they would not be able to adopt this child and achieve the needed legal and social support.

This bill is ideologically based and does not take into account the lives of real human beings. These are hard-working people who pay taxes and who vote.

I am also the secretary for PFLAG Tri-Cities (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). Please visit our web page www.pflagtricities.org and blog, www.pflagtricities.blogspot.com.

In less than a year, our organization has grown. We have over 200 on our email list. We have support from the medical establishment, academics, counselors, clergy, and people from all walks of life. We provide education, support, and advocacy for sexual and gender minorities and their families. We exist to bring families together. We work to make life easier not harder for the residents of Johnson City and the Tri-Cities.

I know that is what you want to do as well. Discrimination is ugly and it is expensive. Please work against this legislation and against other legislation that works to make life more difficult for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens.

Perhaps some time I can meet with you to talk about our work.

Thank you and may you have a productive session.

Sincerely,

Rev. John Shuck
[address]
[phone]
[email]
Joe Rhymer of the Tennessee Equality Project Tri-Cities will be going to Nashville for Equality Day on the Hill. Send a copy of your letter to him so he can deliver it to your representative personally.



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