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Family Values, but not for “Modern Family”: Response to anti-LGBT adoption bill in Tennessee

When he ran for Governor in 2018, now Governor Bill Lee was the only Republican candidate to put his position on civil rights for LGBT people on his website, making it clear that among other things he believed that marriage should be between a man and a woman. The same article, however, also quoted Lee as saying “I would never advocate for any policy that discriminates against anyone,” Lee said in connection to his religious beliefs. “There is no discrimination that I’m advocating for or that I would support.” Fast forward to early 2020 where although the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that same sex couples were entitled to equal protection or the same rights of straight couples as it related to marriage under the Constitution, Governor Lee has announced that he will sign anti-LGBT adoption legislation which is part of a series of anti-LGBT bills known as the “Slate of Hate” which have been recycled through the Tennessee state legislature in recent years. This particular piece of legislation would allow adoption agencies to continue to receive government funding even if they deny adoption rights to same sex couples. The legislation has brought national and even international attention to the state.


Most used words in posts about Tennessee anti-LGBT adoption legislation. Source: Social Studio

Looking to Social Studio, we can see that there have been nearly 600 posts on a search for “Tennessee AND LGBT AND Adoption” in the past three days. Social Studio allows us to look at sentiment analysis as well as individual tweets to get a sense of what people are saying about this legislation and Governor Lee’s decision to sign it. Interesting, the system is also able to show us how this topic is being discussed not just in the United States, but in other countries around the world. It is also being discussed in other languages.


An example of tweets discussing the Tennessee anti-LGBT adoption bill in 2020. Source: Twitter

Social Studio allows you to download all of these tweets and other posts related to your search into a file which can then be analyzed for specific patterns. You can also use it to get a sense of the age of people who are making the posts, the countries of origin, and the gender of the poster. Like any system Social Studio has its limitations. However, it can be very useful for academic research, business purposes, or just to get a sense of what people are saying. If you are a student or other stakeholder at UTK’s College of Communication and Information, make an appointment to visit the center today and learn more about its capabilities for helping you in your academic journey and in your quest to make a difference in your community.