Alabama Advances Bill Allowing Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination by Adoption and Foster Placing Agencies
Montgomery, Ala. -- Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, blasted the Alabama House of Representatives for advancing the discriminatory H.B. 24 to the Alabama Senate with a 60-14 vote.
The bill, deceptively titled the “Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act,” would enshrine taxpayer-funded discrimination into Alabama law by allowing state-funded and licensed adoption and foster care agencies to reject prospective LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents based on the agency’s religious beliefs.
“This bill unconscionably harms the nearly 5,000 children in Alabama’s child welfare system who are waiting to be placed with a loving and supportive family,” said Eva Kendrick, HRC Alabama state manager. “It’s disappointing that legislators in the House seem focused on creating new ways to discriminate against LGBTQ people instead of securing loving homes for these children. And it is deeply disturbing that on ‘pro-life day’ the House has embraced a measure limiting the number of qualified, prospective foster and adoptive families who could offer these children the homes they deserve.”
H.B. 24 would allow state-licensed and funded child-placing agencies to disregard the best interest of children, and turn away qualified Alabamians seeking to care for a child in need -- including LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced, or other parents to whom the agency has a religious objection. The measure would even allow agencies to refuse to place foster children with members of their own extended families -- a practice often considered to be in the best interest of the child. A qualified, loving LGBTQ grandparent, for example, could be deemed unsuitable under the proposed law.
Research consistently shows that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the foster care system, as many have been rejected by their families of origin because of their LGBTQ status, and are especially vulnerable to discrimination and mistreatment while in foster care. H.B. 24 would only exacerbate the challenges faced by these young people.
In 2014, HRC launched Project One America, an initiative geared towards advancing social, institutional and legal equality in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi. HRC Alabama continues to work to advance equality for LGBTQ Alabamians who have no statewide protections in housing, workplace, or public accommodations; or legal state recognition for their relationships and families. Through HRC Alabama, we are working toward a future of fairness every day—changing hearts, minds and laws toward achieving full equality.