MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has signed legislation protecting faith-based adoption organizations that refuse to place children with gay parents or other households because of their religious beliefs.
The legislation prohibits Alabama from refusing to license faith-based adoption groups that refuse placements because of their religious beliefs.
Ivey said Wednesday that she signed the bill because it protects the “ability of religious agencies to place vulnerable children in a permanent home.” Ivey disputed that the bill was about discrimination as opponents argued.
Rep. Rich Wingo, the Republican sponsor of the bill, has said it guarantees that faith-based agencies can operate without violating their religious beliefs. State Rep. Patricia Todd, the state’s only openly gay lawmaker, has called it blatant discrimination. The SPLC released the following statement:
“We are disappointed that one of the very first pieces of legislation Governor Kay Ivey chose to sign is a bill intended to target LGBT kids and stigmatize LGBT families. If the Governor had hoped to signal a new day in Alabama government, this was the wrong way to do it.”
The bill passed with heavy support in the Alabama Legislature.