Alabama Bill Protects Adoption Agencies From LGBT Parenting

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by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  March 20, 2017   

Pope Francis: "Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother"

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. ( - Alabama's legislature is seeking to protect the right of adoption agencies to refuse placing children with same-sex couples.

On Thursday March 16, Alabama's House of Representatives passed HB 24 by a 60–14 vote, which frees state-funded and licensed adoption agencies from having to place children with homosexual couples. The measure would shield such agencies from state aggression in the event they do decline to adopt out children to LGBT parents.

Alabama Rep. Rich Wingo, the bill's sponsor, admitted he proactively introduced the bill because states such as Massachusetts, Illinois, California and the District of Columbia force adoption and foster agencies to place children into homes in violation of their faith. "A number of those faith-based agencies have closed their doors," said Wingo.

HB 24, named the Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act," would safeguard faith-based agencies — that followed their conscience in choosing adoption homes in the best interests of the adopted children — from adverse actions by the state which include:

  • Loss of state funding, contracts or tax exempt status
  • Imposition of fines
  • Refusing to renew a license
  • Revoking or suspending a license

Democrat Rep. Patricia Todd, who is openly gay, called the bill an attack on her community. "What your vote says to me — if you vote for this bill — is that Patricia Todd is not qualified to be a fit parent," she said. Wingo responded, "You know that's not the intent of the bill. It's to protect faith-based agencies."

Alabama's legislation allows adoption and foster care agencies to deny service to LGBT couples on the basis of religious freedom. It closely resembles similar legislation signed into law last week by the governor of South Dakota.

South Dakota became the fourth state to afford such legal protection to adoption agencies. Michigan, North Dakota and Virginia have already granted similar religious exemptions to child-care facilities. Other states in the process of enacting such laws besides Alabama are Texas and Oklahoma.

Supporters of such laws say the preemptive measure is necessary to ensure such facilities — acting on religious convictions and in the best intersts of the children adopted out — would not be forced to close their doors in the event their state follows in the path of several other states in banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. Adoption agencies in Massachusetts, California, Illinois and Washington D.C. have voluntarily shut down services after these states passed such laws.

Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother.

A study by Dr. Paul Sullins of Catholic University of America found that children reared by same-sex parents suffered from the following problems:

  • 18% were depressed
  • 51% of these same people became depressed by age 28
  • 44% were suicidal (three times higher than those raised by straight parents)
  • 93% felt distant from parents growing up
  • 73% of these same people felt distant from their parents as adults

Research by the New Family Structure Study, which surveyed 3,000 adults raised by same-sex couples, revealed these people suffered from the following:

  • Poor educational attainment
  • Low levels of happiness, mental and physical health
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Unemployment
  • Substance abuse
  • Criminal activity
  • Unmarried or infidelity if married

At the "Humanum" conference in 2014, Pope Francis stated, "Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child's development and emotional maturity."


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Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.

Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. is a staff writer for

Follow Bradley on Twitter: @BradleyLEli