Adoption agencies that receive government money shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples. I wouldn’t expect this to be controversial, but on Feb. 24 the Associated Press reported that the Georgia state senate voted to allow adoption agencies to discriminate. This doesn’t just impact same-sex couples — the AP stated that this law could also be used by faith-based adoption agencies to refuse adoption to anyone whose “lifestyle” they disdain. That could also include single parents and unwed couples, according to the AP.
There are, essentially, two arguments at play regarding this law. The first was articulated by Republican state Senator William Ligon, who sponsored the bill. Ligon said, the AP stated, that “the bill is needed to ensure that faith-based organizations are not kept out of civic life.” The Independent elaborated on Ligon’s point, stating that the senator argued that faith-based adoption organizations should not have to “check [their] faith at the door.”
The other argument is that the measure allows adoption organizations to discriminate. Democratic state Senator Nan Orrock stated that this law will “protect agencies that are gonna deny loving families the opportunity to adopt a child from our foster care system” as quoted by the Independent.
Orrock is right. If organizations get to pick which families are morally “good” enough to adopt children, then there are many children who won’t be adopted by loving families. There are over 428,000 children in the United States foster care system, according to Children’s Rights. Going further, the Georgia Department of Children and Family Services estimates that there were almost 14,000 kids in foster care in Ga. in December of 2017. These children deserve loving families, and loving families are not always heterosexual, Christian ones.
The other problem with this bill — the big, glaring problem — is that it puts the religious rights of adoption agencies above the legal rights of same-sex couples, (and single couples, and unwed couples.) Adoption laws aren’t the only area where this is an issue; Kim Davis of Ky. tried to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but was eventually overruled by the federal court system, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Faith based organizations should be able to participate in public life. But if they have to infringe on other people’s rights to do so, then they should not be responsible for choosing future families of children in the state’s foster care system.