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The Georgia Senate Wants to Let Religious Adoption Agencies Discriminate Against LGBTQ People

Yesterday, the Georgia Senate passed a bill allowing religious adoption agencies to refuse placing kids with same-sex couples based on their religious beliefs. The bill passed along party lines with Republicans (unsurprisingly) supporting it in a 35-to-19 vote. The Georgia adoption bill now goes to the state House. If it passes there, it will be the second such law to pass in the U.S. in recent memory. Texas passed a similar law in June 2017.

Georgia Senate Bill 375, called the “Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act,” was introduced earlier this month by Republican Senator William Ligon. Ligon said, “[Adoption agencies] want to have the assurance that they’ll be able to exercise their fundamental right to practice their faith.”

During a debate on the bill with Democratic Senator Jen Jordan, Ligon confirmed that there “is no record of adoption agencies being discriminated against in Georgia because of their faith.” Nevertheless, Republican supporters claimed the bill would help increase adoptions, though they failed to say how.

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Georgia Republican Senator William Ligon

In the same debate, Democratic Senator Nan Orrock mentioned that many LGBTQ people are religious, meaning that this so-called “religious freedom” bill actually values one group’s religious beliefs over another’s, something forbidden by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Orrock said:

This proposition that we should encourage agencies and change our law and protect agencies that are going to deny loving families the opportunity to adopt is backwards on its face. You want more families coming forward to adopt children and reduce the load of children stuck in the foster system? The way that you do that is not to bar LGBT couples from adopting.

Furthermore, the bill forbids state agencies from penalizing adoption agencies for discriminating against anyone on the basis of religion. Both the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Georgia Chamber of Commerce oppose the bill.

In June 2017, Texas passed a similar bill that allowed adoption agencies and child welfare services to discriminate against LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, single parents, re-married parents and other parents to whom the agency has a religious objection.

What do you think of the Georgia adoption bill? Sound off in the comments.


Featured image by monkeybusinessimages via iStock