The Georgia state Senate approved a bill today that would allow adoption agencies to deny same-sex couples the opportunity to adopt based on “deeply held religious beliefs.”
Additionally, the legislation (known as Senate Bill 375) would prohibit the state from taking any adverse action against agencies who discriminated against those same-sex couples.
The legislation was approved by a vote of 35-19 and now moves to the state House.
More from The Georgia Voice:
Senate Bill 375, called the “Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act,” was introduced earlier this month by state Sen. William Ligon (photo), who added similar language to an adoption overhaul at the end of last year’s legislative session, causing the bill to stall. A Senate Judiciary sub-committee met on Feb. 8 to take up the bill, moving to send it on to the full committee, which passed the bill on Feb. 20.
Senators debated the bill for over an hour, and the 2015 Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage was a hot topic throughout, with several senators who support the bill quoting directly from the ruling. Sen. Ligon and other supporters of the bill continued to try and make the case that passage of the bill would lead to more adoption opportunities in the state and not less.
Equality Federation deputy director Fran Hutchins issued a statement saying, “As someone who was adopted myself I find it deeply insulting that a few politicians are putting LGBTQ youth and families at risk for discrimination. Every child deserves a loving family and place the call home.”
And executive director for Georgia Equality, Jeff Graham, called SB 375 “mean spirited” and said, “This legislation goes out of its way to make it harder for loving and committed same-sex couples to start a family—and unfortunately, it’s children in need of permanent homes who will pay the steepest price.”
Georgia Equality has announced a March 1 rally across from the Capitol.
The Georgia Senate passed SB 375, a bill that would allow child welfare organizations — including adoption and foster care agencies — to turn away qualified Georgians seeking to care for a child in need, including #LGBTQ couples. https://t.co/oywZYxcuaf
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 23, 2018
The Georgia State Senate passed a dangerous religious exemption bill that would allow taxpayer-funded agencies to deny adoption requests from LGBTQ couples and refuse service to LGBTQ youth. #GApol #SB375 https://t.co/A32JoM35PL
— GLAAD (@glaad) February 23, 2018