On Friday, the Georgia Senate passed a bill that would allow adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples due to religious beliefs, Georgia Voice reports.
Senate Bill 375, or the “Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act,” would also prevent the Georgia Department of Human Services from taking any “adverse action” against adoption and foster agencies that choose to bar LGBT families from adopting.
The bill was introduced this month by state Republican Sen. William Ligon, who argued that SB-375 would not allow for discrimination and would increase adoptions in the state.
“This bill does not prevent anyone from adopting,” Ligon said last week during the Senate Judiciary Hearing. “They want to have the assurance that they’ll be able to exercise their fundamental right to practice their faith.”
Opponents of the bill said there is no record of the agencies being discriminated due to their faith and this was more on feelings, a claim that Ligon denied.
State Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) called into question Ligon’s claim that the passage of the bill would allow more kids to be adopted, according to Georgia Voice.
“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 backward on its face,” Orrock said at the hearing. “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.”
The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement on the Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act:
“Plain and simple—SB 375 is discrimination dressed up as a ‘solution’ to a fake problem,” said Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign. “It creates an unnecessary hardship for potential LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents in Georgia and primarily harms the children looking for a loving home. It’s unfortunate that leaders are focusing on this bill, instead of concrete ways to improve the child welfare system in Georgia. We ask the Georgia House of Representatives to reject this bill.”
The bill passed along party lines 35-19 and will now head to the Georgia House of Representatives for consideration.