Republican Governor Kay Ivey of Alabama has signed HB24 into law, the Orwellian-named Alabama Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act, which would shield adoption agencies who engage in discrimination against LGBTQ adoptive parents from state repercussions.
While bill sponsor Rep. Rich Wingo (R-Tuscaloosa) claimed that this would prevent religious adoption agencies from having to shut down for following their beliefs, colleague and LGBT advocate Rep. Patricia Todd demurred: “This bill obviously came about because same-sex marriage was approved. It’s based on a stereotype. And it’s wrong. And we shouldn’t discriminate and I will always fight that.” The bill explicitly excludes those adoption agencies that receive state or federal funding from its protection, a tacit admission that it would otherwise be a full-fledged state-sanctioned license to discriminate.
The Human Rights Campaign registered its chagrin at the measure’s passage:
“We are deeply disappointed that the legislature and the governor took on this unnecessary, discriminatory bill instead of focusing on how to improve the lives of all Alabamians, no matter who they are or whom they love,” said Eva Kendrick, HRC Alabama state director. “The intent of this law is clear: to discriminate, causing the most harm to children in Alabama’s child welfare system. It’s time our lawmakers — from the legislature to the Governor’s Mansion — stop using LGBTQ people as pawns to win cheap political points.”
Statistics show that the pool of potential adoptive parents has grown as it increasingly includes same-sex couples:
A 2007 report from the Williams Institute estimated that 2 million gay and lesbian parents are interested in adoption. About half of gay men and two-fifths of lesbians want a child. Four percent of America’s adopted children are being raised by gay parents, and three percent of foster children live with gay parents.
While studies on LGBT parents are limited due to the limited number of LGBT parents, research has found that children raised in homes with same-sex parents are not negatively impacted as a result. The Williams Institute cites several nationally accredited organizations that have recognized “that sexual orientation should not be a determinative factor in assessing the ability of individuals to raise children through adoption, foster care, or second parent adoptions.”
Among these organizations are the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Psychoanalytic Association, American Psychological Association and Child Welfare League of America.
This seemingly positive development has been marred by similar laws that go out of their way to exclude LGBTQ parents from adopting under the guise of religious freedom, which have been passed in other states such as Georgia as well as South Dakota.