“I would hope they would reconsider the addition to this language that could put the whole bill in jeopardy,” Deal told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The provision in question was proposed by Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick), and would allow private adoption agencies that receive state funding the ability to refuse to place children with LGBT couples. Deal said this proposal, which was adopted last week in the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, could stop “an otherwise ‘good bill'” that updated Georgia’s adoption rules.
“Taxpayer dollars should never, under any circumstances, be used to fund discrimination. Limiting the pool of prospective parents for children in dire need of forever families puts orphans and foster youths in harm’s way,” Jeff Graham of Georgia Unites said in a statement moments after the surprise amendment was put forth. “Same-sex couples and LGBT people are just as qualified as anyone else to parent and provide loving homes for children in need.”
HB 159 passed the House on Feb. 27 and went before the committee on March 16. Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) made a motion to strike sections four and five of the bill, which contained the changes suggested by Ligon.
“Section four said that an agency could refuse a referral based on its ‘mission,’ and I said that that was a license to discriminate,” he said. “I made a motion to eliminate the bad parts of the bill. The motion failed and the bill passed.”
The bill will go before the Senate Rules Committee next.