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Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act

March 16th, 2018


A bill just passed by the Georgia Senate allows adoption organizations to discriminate against LGBT parents if they invoke sincerely-held religious beliefs.

A bill just passed by the Georgia Senate allows adoption organizations to discriminate against LGBT parents if they invoke sincerely-held religious beliefs.

Georgia’s Senate recently passed a bill, referred to as SB 375 or the “Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act,” that has the potential to enable child welfare organizations to prevent same-sex parents from adopting a child based on the organization’s beliefs. If the bill passes through the Georgia House, adoption organizations would then be able to refuse referrals that violate religious beliefs. While some politicians like Senator William Ligon have argued that the legislation is important for faith-based organizations, other child care agencies have argued that the bill would represent a step backwards for LGBTQ rights in both Georgia and potentially the United States.

The Text of SB 375

The first section of SB 375 notes that it modifies the existing Georgia Code to allow child-placing agencies to decline referrals from departments as well as to decline to perform services based on the agency’s sincerely held religious beliefs. The bill notes that maintaining a diverse network of adoption and foster care providers helps to accommodate children from various backgrounds. If a child placement agency declines to accept a referral, a department is prohibited from using this decision to act in an adverse manner toward the agency. SB 375 also allows for the refusal of agency services to queer and transgender youth.

Organizations Against SB 375

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has raised concerns that the bill would be used to discriminate against not just same sex parents but also interfaith couples, single parents, divorcees, and other individuals who might constitute a religious objection for some parties.  HRC also argues that SB 375 creates unnecessary hardship for potential LGBTQ parents in Georgia and primarily harms children looking for a home. As a result, HRC has asked the Georgia House of Representatives to reject the bill.

Other child welfare organizations that have condemned the bill include the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the Child Welfare League of America, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Education Association.

Parties in Support of the Bill

Parties in support of SB 375 argue that the bill will encourage more faith-based agencies in the state of Georgia to place more children with families. Parties expressing this belief include both politicians and faith-based agencies.

The Goal of the Universal Life Church’s Blog

There are currently more than 400,000 children in foster care throughout the country, including 14,000 in the state of Georgia. The exact effect that SB 375 will have on adoption agencies in the state of Georgia as well the ripple effect that might be seen in adoption agencies located in other areas of the country remain to be seen. By continuing to read the Universal Life Church’s blog, however, you can remain up to date with various developments that occur in the advancement of LGBTQ rights.

(image courtesy of Markus Spiske)

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