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Georgia Bill Would Allow Adoption Agencies to Turn LGBTQ People Away

The Georgia state legislature is considering a bill that would allow adoption agencies to turn LGBTQ couples away. That’s how much they hate us: they’d rather leave kids in foster care then let them be in our loving homes.

SB-375, also known as the “Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act,” would allow child-placement agencies to refuse to work with potential parents if it violates their “sincerely held religious beliefs.” As opponents pointed out on the Senate floor last week, it’s obvious who the bill is targeting: if passed, taxpayer funded adoption agencies would be free to turn away qualified LGBTQ people, just because of their sexual orientation. It’s state-sanctioned discrimination hiding under the guise of religious liberty.

The bill passed the Georgia State Senate last week and headed to the House for a vote. If Georgia licenses adoption discrimination, it’ll join a disturbing national trend. According to the Movement Advancement Project, seven states allow child welfare agencies to refuse to place kids with LGBTQ people, if doing so “conflicts with their religious beliefs.” Alabama, South Dakota, and Texas which passed nearly identical laws just last year.

The idea that I could someday be denied the opportunity to adopt just because of who I am and who I love fills me with intense anxiety. But being a parent is a long, long way in my future — for now, I’m far more concerned about the impact laws like this have on vulnerable youth in foster care.

In 2015, an estimated 430,000 children were in foster care nationally. The opioid epidemic is fueling a crisis in foster care and nearly every state has seen a dramatic increase in the number of children in foster care, some by over 20 percent.

With hundreds of thousands of kids in the system, you’d think Georgia’s priority would be encouraging loving families to adopt. Instead, the legislature is putting their seal of approval on discrimination and trapping more kids in a foster system where they’re highly vulnerable to physical abuse, sexual assault, and neglect.

Like I said: that’s how much they hate us.

Header image via LGBT Families of Color: Facts at a Glance

Sejal Singh is a columnist at Feministing, where she writes about educational equity, labor, and reproductive justice. Sejal is a Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for Know Your IX, a national campaign to end gender-based violence in schools, where she has led several state and federal campaigns for student survivors' civil rights. In the past, Sejal led LGBT rights campaigns for the Center for American Progress. Today, she is a student at Harvard Law School and a frequent speaker on LGBTQ rights and civil rights in schools.

Sejal Singh is a law student and columnist at Feministing, writing about educational equity, labor, and reproductive justice.

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