All Rights reserved
Tennessee's gay rights activists scored a major victory Wednesday when the state's children and family affairs committee voted down a bill barring gays and lesbians from adopting children. The bill, which was defeated 11-9, had been watered down in a house subcommittee last week to remove references to gay people and to instead give preference to straight married couples over singles. But the committee Wednesday decided to vote on the original bill and not include the amendment. The bill's sponsor, Republican representative Chris Clem, said he expected a battle from the house, where Democrats hold a majority. "That's the way it's going to be in the house of representatives when you have the leadership that runs this house," said Clem. "Even when you have a bill that would easily get 70% of the votes on the house floor, if the leadership doesn't want it passed, they won't even let it come up for a vote." Teri Sogol, a social worker with Jewish Family Service in Nashville, said she's pleased with the outcome. "It was the right way to go," she said. "Barring gays and lesbians from adoption is really doing a disservice to the children in state custody, and it's also discriminatory."