On Friday, February 23, the Georgia state senate passed a bill called “Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care.” This bill allows adoption and foster care agencies to deny single parents, unwed couples, and LGBT couples from adopting because of religious beliefs. This bill also prohibits Georgia Department of Human Services from taking any action against agencies that choose to turn away LGBT couples. Now, the bill heads to the Georgia House of Representatives for consideration.
“This bill does not prevent anyone from adopting” Senator William Ligon, the sponsor of the bill, claims. “[The concerned agencies] want to have the assurance that they’ll be able to exercise their fundamental right to practice their faith.” Opponents of the bill argue that this bill discriminates against LGBT couples, denies children loving families, and could put LGBT youth at risk by placing them with families that are intolerant of their sexual identity.
“This proposition that we should encourage agencies and change our law to protect agencies that are going to deny loving families the opportunity to adopt is backwards in its face,” says Sen. Nan Orrock.
Throughout the debate, the need for the bill was constantly questioned by Sen. Jen Jordan. She also confirmed that there has been no record of discrimination against religious agencies and pointed out that the concern for these agencies is based on feelings rather than facts. Sen. Fran Millar disagreed, “I’m tired of [Georgia] fail in certain areas and we have failed our foster children. The statistics Ligon read are true. If this broadens opportunities for people to love them and raise them, then by God, I’m going to vote for it.”
Sen. Orrock commented that LGBT people can have religious beliefs, as well. “The aspersion cast that a same-sex couple cannot constitute a faith-based family — what are we saying here? As the senator from Dekalb has pointed out, things have changed here, and now the law of the land has changed. It means that LGBT people are now protected and it took a long, long battle in the streets and in the courts to have that affirmed.”
In response to the bill, showrunner, Ben Wexler, calls for boycott of the entertainment in Georgia. He tweets, “To my fellow showrunners: if this dumb bill becomes law, let’s be done filming television shows in Georgia.” On Thursday afternoon (March 1), hundreds rallied against the bill across the street from Georgia State Capitol to stop the bill from becoming law. This bill has received backlash nationwide, and if it passes, it may result in more protest.