Alabama legislators approved a massive anti-LGBTQ bill, giving adoption agencies with “sincerely held religious beliefs” the right and ability to reject qualified LGBTQ homes for child placement.
It’s believed, according to a statement from her spokesman, the new Alabama Governor Kay Ivey will sign it even with a pending legal review.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) condemned Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and the Alabama State Senate for passing H.B 24. Many have urged the governor not to sign the bill, which would do more damage to the children in the state’s child welfare system.
The bill, which is cleverly called Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act, writes discrimination into state law by giving state-licensed foster care and adoption agencies the power to deny eligible potential LGBTQ couples because of the agency’s religion. H.B. 24 would also deny foster parenting or adoption to single parents, married couples where one partner was already divorced, interfaith couples and other parents an agency deemed unsuitable.
The bill also lets agencies deny putting foster children in with their extended family members, which is often regarded as in “the best interest of the child.” For instance, an LGBTQ grandparent would be denied “legal guardianship” over their grandchild based on the law.
According to HRC Alabama State Director Eva Kendrick, H.B. 24 is discriminatory that’s dolled up to be an answer to a non-existent problem. She said it will lead to unnecessary hardships on potential Alabama LGBTQ foster and adoptive parents and does more harm to children who want a loving home. She went on to say that it was terrible for leaders to push the bill with so many entities saying it leads to discrimination.
Kendrick said faith leaders, child welfare organizations and fair-minded state folk have urged the governor not to sign the detrimental bill. She said over 50 faith leaders openly wrote a letter to the legislators asking them to oppose the bill, saying their religion points to love and kindness – to serve all, regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.
According to research, there is a high number of LGBTQ youth in the foster care system due to rejection from their families for being who they are. They often face discrimination and harm in the foster care system – the bill only worsens these issues.
The HRC began its Project One America initiative, which is designed to help advanced legal, social and institutional equality in Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas. HRC Alabama is working tirelessly to improve equality for LGBTQ residents in the state where there are no protections in place for workplace, housing and public accommodations. They are also no legal state recognition for LGBTQ relationships and families.
HRC wants to change that, making things fair by changing people’s minds and hearts as well as the state laws.