This past week, Governor Kay Ivey Wednesday of Alabama signed House Bill 24 into law, granting state officials the power to choose not to withhold licenses from religious adoption agencies who refuse to place children in “immoral households.”
Yes, you read that right.
“I ultimately signed House Bill 24 because it ensures hundreds of children can continue to find forever homes through religiously-affiliated adoption agencies,” Ivey explained. “This bill is not about discrimination, but instead protects the ability of religious agencies to place vulnerable children in a permanent home.”
“The Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act” made it through the legislature quite quickly back in March. Sponsored by Representative Rich Wingo, the initiative wishes to protect the rights of state-funded and licensed adoption agencies to reject LGBTQ couples on the grounds of “religious freedom.” The state joins Michigan, South Dakota, North Dakota and Virginia as the latest state to take action to complicate the adoption process for LGBTQ couples. And while the legislation only applies to private agencies, it’s indicative that attitudes towards LGBTQ families have not changed as many of us would liked to think.
“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, the state director of the Human Rights Campaign in Alabama.
The bill doesn’t just affect LGBTQ families, but couples of mixed faith, people who are divorced, single parents and basically anyone who doesn’t conform to a nuclear, heterosexual family structure.