Today, HRC expressed deep concern over Gov. Kay Ivey signing into law Alabama’s patently anti-LGBTQ bill H.B. 24.
The bill, deceptively titled the “Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act,” enshrines discrimination into Alabama law by allowing some state-licensed adoption and foster care agencies to reject qualified prospective LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents based on the agency’s religious beliefs. An amendment was added in the Senate and agreed to by the House that limits that discriminatory exemption to agencies that do not receive state or federal funding.
“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.”
H.B. 24 allows state-licensed 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. While the Senate-led amendment limits this discriminatory exemption to child welfare agencies that do not receive state or federal funds, there is still no question that LGBTQ people and others will continue to be subjected to discrimination under this harmful 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 will only exacerbate the challenges faced by LGBTQ 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.