Alabama lawmakers are set to approve a new bill that would allow faith-based adoption organizations to refuse to place children with LGBT parents based on the organization’s religious beliefs, by way of no longer denying licenses to groups engaged in that practice.
Supporters of the bill say it will allow adoption organizations to “operate without being forced to violate their religious beliefs” while opponents are calling it discrimination. The bill is now on the desk of newly installed governor Kay Ivey who has yet to say whether or not she will sign it.
“It’s just making sure the faith-based child placing agencies aren’t discriminated against due to their beliefs. It’s not discriminating against anyone else,” Rep. Rich Wingo, the Republican sponsor of the bill, said, according to the AP. However, the bill does not extend this provision to organizations and agencies that receive state or federal funds.
Rep. Patricia Todd, the only openly gay lawmaker in Alabama, said the number of children in need of adoption and foster care placement far outstrips the need for this law. “We have too many kids in foster care who need adoption, many of them with special needs. Same-sex parents want to adopt and take care of those children,” she said.
A spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center said the law would not only target LGBT couples but could be used to deny adoptions to unmarried couples and divorced persons, as well as people who are not of the same Christian sect as the organization.
South Dakota, Michigan, North Dakota and Virginia have similar laws on the books.
(Via NBC News)