This week, the Alabama House Health Committee delayed a vote on HB 158, the “Alabama Child Care Provider Inclusion Act” when its sponsor, Rep. Rich Wingo of Tuscaloosa, introduced a substitute for his original bill.
The substitute would change the name of the bill to the “Alabama Child Placement Agency Inclusion Act.” The bill seeks to enable state-contracted and state-license child placing agencies to refuse to offer services to Alabama’s children and families if those services conflict with the religious beliefs of the provider.
Under HB 158, Alabamians’ hard-earned taxpayer dollars would ultimately finance discrimination, allowing a child placement agency to turn away a range of potential parents seeking to adopt a child. Qualified LGBT couples, interfaith couples, single parents or a married couple where one parent has been previously divorced could be rejected. Similarly, Alabama’s placing agencies could forgo best practices and refuse to place foster children with members of their extended families - like a loving LGBT grandparent - based solely on the agency’s religious beliefs.
At this moment, more than 1,000 Alabama children are waiting on adoptive homes, with 4,556 more in foster care across the state. The time is now to support these youth who deserve nothing less than loving, supportive families.
These bills are part of nearly 200 anti-LGBT bills that were introduced across 32 states this year. Over 100 bills are still active, representing an onslaught of anti-LGBT bills being pushed this year by anti-equality activists around the country.
HRC Alabama continues to sound the alarm on HB 158 and its Senate companion bill, SB 204. Live in Alabama? Click here to join us and to keep up the pressure against religious refusals in Alabama by contacting Senators and members of the House Health Committee.