Lawmakers in the US state of Tennessee have dropped a controversial anti-gay adoption bill at the last minute.
The bill would have allowed faith-based adoption agencies the right to reject same-sex couples on religious grounds.
The bill had been expected to pass in the state Senate on Tuesday (30 April).
However, the bill’s sponsor quietly requested the proposal be moved to the next legislative session. This effectively kills the proposal for a year.
No explanation was given for why the bill was withdrawn, the Washington Post reports.
However, the Republican-dominated Senate voted in a watered-down proposal which spells out that Tennessee’s public indecency law applies to single-sex, multiperson bathrooms and changing rooms.
This bill was voted in by a 21-5 majority and has been sent to Republican Governor Bill Lee for signing.
Critics had argued the original version of the bill would restrict trans peoples’ access to bathrooms.
There had been numerous calls for both bills to be scrapped. This includes from tech giant, Amazon, pop singer, Taylor Swift, and state football team, the Tennessee Titans.
One withdrawn, the other watered-down
Opponents of the withdrawn adoption bill had claimed it would have legitimized and fueled discrimination towards people because of their sexuality.
However, supporters of the proposal argued that it was needed to protect religious adoption groups from potential lawsuits.
However, it’s opponents claim it would have legitimized and fueled discrimination towards people because of their sexuality.
While the second bill on Tennessee’s indecency laws in bathrooms and changing rooms was passed, it came with significant amendments.
LGBTI rights group The Tennessee Equality Project said that the sections in the bill which targetted the trans community had been removed prior to its passing.
However, the group warned that it could still be misused as a way to intimidate and arrest trans people.
Numerous calls for the bills to be rejected
Both bills had courted notable attention in the lead-up to the Senate hearing.
A number of celebrities and businesses publically called on Tennessee lawmakers to reject the proposals.
Over a dozen other companies signed an open letter expressing opposition to the proposals.
This included tech giant Amazon. The company is currently seeking to expand its presence in the business-friendly state, which includes planning for a $230 million campus for 5,000 new employees in the state capital, Nashville.
Other business signators included Salesforce, Dell Technologies, Postmates, Warner Music Group, Nashville Ballet, Nashville Cares.
Pop singer Taylor Swift and actress Megan Fox also publically expressed their opposition to the bills.
They were joined by Tennessee’s state football team, the Tennessee Titans, which released a statement saying the proposals were ‘discriminatory’ and could affect businesses in the state.