Tennessee Governor Bill Lee will sign into law a measure that would assure continued taxpayer funding of faith-based foster care and adoption agencies, even if they exclude LGBTQ families and others based on religious beliefs.
Foster parent Michael Quinton believes the focus should be on kids in the system, rather than a family’s beliefs.
“It’s really good for the kids to be taken care of, in a home to overcome trauma. Most of these kids are very traumatized, and they need to be nurtured and loved.”
Quinton is gay and lives in the Knoxville area. He started taking care of his two great-nephews after their biological parents’ rights were terminated.
“If I wouldn’t have stepped in, he would have been out, somewhere we would have never known about him, how he was doing. I was able to get him back within the family, and with his biological youngest brother who was previously adopted,” Quinton said.
He believes more needs to be done to make kids in the foster care system a priority.
“We’re all humans, regardless of our skin color or lifestyle or orientation. Ultimately, it affects the children more,” Quinton said.
He said he understands both sides but hopes agencies can have a little more compassion.
“If I knew their beliefs, I wouldn’t intentionally go and try to foster from them to cause a stir up or to make them feel uncomfortable. At the same time, we have to respect folks’ background and their beliefs,” he said.
“It puts me in the middle. I know I wouldn’t go to Smokey Mountains Home in Sevierville and try to foster or adopt through them. Perception is, they wouldn’t be open to that,” Quinton said.