06 Mar '18 20:37>
The Georgia Senate has approved a bill that would give adoption agencies the ability to decide not to work with LGBTQ couples.
The measure was approved by a 35-19 vote last week after an hours’ worth of contentious debate, according to the Associated Press.
The bill, which was introduced by Republican state Sen William Ligon, would also apply to adoption agencies that receive taxpayer funding.
Supporters of the measure cited religious concerns to explain why they had thrown their support against a bill that opponents say amounts to state-sanctioned discrimination.
“Just because you are a faith-based organisation, doesn’t mean you have to check your faith at the door and cannot participate in government programmes,” Mr Ligon told local media.
Democratic state Sen Nan Orrock, who represents an Atlanta district, said that the proposed legislation is a backward attempt at discrimination that will hurt children who are hoping to be housed with caring families.
The bill falls in line with a variety of attempts to curb LGBT rights after the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality in 2015. That has included attempts to shield private organizations from a responsibility to provide services for gay couples getting married, including efforts to allow private bakeries to refuse to make cakes for a gay wedding.
That case was argued before the Supreme Court in December, and but justices have not yet released an opinion on the matter.