Georgia bill targets same-sex parent adoption
It looks like Georgia lawmakers are set on forbidding same-sex parent adoption after passing a bill that would allow adoption agencies that receive taxpayer funding to refuse to work with LGBTQ couples, among others.
According to an AP report, the bill was sponsored by Republican Senator William Ligon of Brunswick. It was passed last Friday with a 35 to 19 vote after an hour of debate.
Bill against same-sex parent adoption
The bill would supposedly give legal protection to faith-based adoption agencies to refuse placing a child with people whose lifestyles they don’t agree with due to “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
If passed, adoption organizations and foster care providers can refuse service to single parents, undwed couples, and LGBTQ couples.
Ligon defended his bill– which is called the Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act– saying that he wants to ensure faith-based organizations won’t be kept out of civic life.
“Just because you are a faith-based organisation, doesn’t mean you have to check your faith at the door and cannot participate in government programmes,” Ligon said.
The bill still needs to pass the Georgia House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Nan Orrock of an Atlanta district said: “This proposition that we should… protect agencies that are gonna deny loving families the opportunity to adopt a child from our foster care system is just backward on its face.”
Denying same-sex parent adoption because of religion
Critics said this bill would allow adoption agencies to implement state-sanctioned discrimination, calling it a “dangerous step backward.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, said the bill is “a dangerous step backward that would codify permission to discriminate against the LGBTQ community into Georgia state law.”
“This bill is not about freedom of religion, which is one of our nation’s fundamental values, but rather about imposing one’s personal religious beliefs on others to discriminate against loving foster or adoptive parents simply because of their identity and deny services to LGBTQ youth,” Ellis said.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) said the bill can be used to discrimination not only against same-sex parents but also interfaith couples, single parents, and divorcees.
The Senate bill “is discrimination dressed up as a ‘solution’ to a fake problem,” said Marty Rouse, national field director for HRC.
It’s unfortunate that leaders are focusing on this bill instead of concrete ways to improve the child welfare system in Georgia.,” Rouse said.