A bill that would allow adoption
agencies to refuse to place children with gay and lesbian couples
based on religious beliefs cleared the Georgia Senate on Friday.
The bill, Senate Bill 375, is titled
the “Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act.” Introduced
earlier this month by Senator William Ligon, a Republican from
Brunswick, the bill also would prohibit the Georgia Department of
Human Services from taking “adverse action” against adoption
agencies that turn away gay couples, the Georgia
The chamber's 19 Democratic senators
voted against the measure. It now heads to the House, where
Republicans vastly outnumber Democrats.
Ligon, the bill's sponsor, argued that
the bill would lead to increased adoption opportunities by
encouraging more religious adoption agencies to open in the state.
“This bill does not prevent anyone
from adopting,” he told colleagues.
Senator Nan Orrock, a Democrat from
Atlanta, questioned Ligon's assertion.
“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,” Orrock said. “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
“It's a slap in the face to same-sex
couple that would consider adoption,” she added.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, said that the bill is
“discrimination dressed up as a 'solution' to a fake problem.”
“It creates an unnecessary hardship
for potential LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents in Georgia and
primarily harms the children looking for a loving home,” Marty
Rouse, HRC national field director, said in a statement.