Georgia lawmaker introduces LGBT adoption, foster care ban

Add this share

Sen. William Ligon introduced a bill that would allow adoption and foster care agencies to ban LGBT people, making good on his promise to push the legislation after it became embroiled in controversy last year.

Ligon said in January that the ban was coming, promising to introduce it as a standalone bill after it was stripped out of legislation reforming the state's adoption and foster care laws. On Wednesday, he filed the new bill.

Senate Bill 375 would allow adoption agencies to refuse to place children with LGBT people or others based on their religious beliefs. The bill would also protect those agencies from losing state funding if they refuse service to anyone.

A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 1 of Chapter 5 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to children and youth services, so as to allow a child-placing agency to decline to accept a referral from the department and decline to perform services not referred under a contract with the department based on the child-placing agency's sincerely held religious beliefs; to prevent the department from discriminating against or causing any adverse action against a child-placing agency based on its sincerely held religious beliefs; to provide for assertion of such rights; to provide for definitions; to provide for a short title; to provide for legislative findings; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

Ligon said the legislation would protect faith-based agencies. Via the AJC:

“Our faith-based agencies have provided a valuable and very important service in that regard for many years,” Ligon said. “What we’ve seen across the nation is that states have failed these agencies by forcing them to make a choice between violating their faith, which motivates them to do this service, or going out of business.”

Co-sponsors of the legislation include Sens. Jesse Stone, Steve Gooch, David Shafer, Greg Kirk and Jeff Mullis. Kirk helped push a sweeping anti-LGBT “religious freedom” bill in 2016 that earned a veto from Gov. Nathan Deal. Shafer, who is running lieutenant governor, has helped push anti-LGBT legislation as the Senate's No. 2 official.

Last year, Mullis – chair of the powerful Rules Committee that decides which bills make it to the Senate floor for a vote – called Ligon's adoption ban “a little extreme.”

Ligon and the Senate Judiciary Committee attached the ban to a rewrite of the state's adoption and foster care laws. That prompted an outcry from GOP leaders, adoption advocates and LGBT activists. The amendment tanked the bill.

In January, Ligon's amendment was stripped from the legislation, paving the way for its passage in the Senate by a 40-13 vote on Jan. 18.

Ligon, Stone – chair of the Judiciary Committee – and Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert said then that the adoption ban would quickly resurface.


Defining our own LGBTQ love stories beyond marriage

Younger. Older. Coupled. Single. Any and all LGBTQ subcultures. Wherever you stand, you may notice an odd phenomenon: the polarizing notion that same-sex couples should get...

AIDS Walk canceled but fundraising continues for HIV groups

The coronavirus pandemic forced the cancelation of the 30th annual AIDS Walk Atlanta, but that hasn't stopped fundraising for the event’s beneficiaries.Organizers decided to...

The best LGBTQ things to do in Atlanta this weekend

Movies and parties meet you online, while venues welcome you back with socially acceptable distance. LGBTQ Atlanta events beckon with downtime options through Sunday.Friday,...

Running scared from that other ‘L’ Word: Love

Q: My girlfriend is getting too close for comfort. She says my past heartbreaks are obstacles to me feeling the same way about her as...

WSB’s Jorge Estevez’s secret to surviving the pandemic? Snacks

Jorge Estevez moved to Atlanta to start his new job just weeks before the coronavirus pandemic hit, then racial justice protests unfolded and a...




Index, ring fingers tell the secret of your penis

The next time you’re cruising Mr. Right Now, take a gander at his index and ring fingers. The difference between the two predicts what you’ll find when the package gets unwrapped. Less is more. Really.
Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium 2020

Massive expansion of ‘Church’ bar finally open after 2020 plot twists

Grant Henry’s vision is always unique, his dreams always big, and the quirky results always undeniable. Patrons see that dynamic in action again with...

Georgia LGBTQ leaders endorse Biden as pro-equality ‘champion’

Eleven LGBTQ leaders from metro Atlanta joined some 300 others nationwide to endorse Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, calling them “the most pro-equality ticket...

10 gender identities to know and respect beyond the binary

Between, beside and beyond the binary come those people who identify outside the traditional male and female roles and expectations.