Justice

It Just Got Harder to Be an LGBT Parent in Alabama

The governor of Alabama just signed a bill that will allow adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT couples based on religious grounds.

Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama.

Republican Governor Kay Ivey said HB 24 — titled the "The Alabama Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act" — aims to protect "religious liberty." 

"The elected legislature of this state overwhelmingly approved House Bill 24," Ivey said in a statement, according to the Birmingham News. "Having served as President of the Senate for more than six years, I appreciate the work of the legislature, and I agree with it on the importance of protecting religious liberty in Alabama." 

Even though the law will allow faith-oriented adoption agencies to refuse LGBT couples from becoming parents, Ivey claims the bill is "not about discrimination." 

"This bill is not about discrimination, but instead protects the ability of religious agencies to place vulnerable children in a permanent home." - Gov. Kay Ivey

However LGBT advocates say that discrimination is exactly the intent of the bill. 

hand holding

The Human Rights Campaign called the bill "deceptively titled" and said that it "enshrines discrimination into Alabama law."

“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,” Eva Kendrick, HRC Alabama state director said in a press release. “The intent of this law is clear: to discriminate, causing the most harm to children in Alabama’s child welfare system.”

Laws like these have a major impact, because LGBT people are eager to adopt.  

An estimated 16,000 LGBT couples are raising 22,000 adopted children in the U.S. and they are four times more likely than "different-sex" couples to be raising adopted children, according to the Williams Institute at University of California, Los Angeles. According to research conducted by the Williams Institute in 2007, approximately two million same-sex parents were willing adopt. 

Alabama's new law comes in the midst of an adoption shortage on the national level. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says there were nearly 430,000 children in foster care in 2015, with more than 110,000 were waiting to be adopted.

RELATED: Mississippi Passes Sweeping Anti-LGBT Law