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Hurdles To Transitioning Without Non-Discrimination Protections Ames Simmons ~ Atlanta, Georgia
Senate Must Fix HB 159, An Adoption Bill Tarnished By Anti-LGBT Amendments March 20, 2017

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced HB 159, a good adoption bill tarnished by “poison pill” amendments that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation—as well as race, ethnicity, and religion—all while receiving public funding.

The Senate rushed these amendments through at the 11th hour, in a last ditch effort led by Senators William Ligon, Josh McKoon and Greg Kirk—known proponents of anti-LGBT legislation—to codify a license to discriminate against LGBT people into Georgia’s adoption laws.

Next, the bill will advance to the Senate Rules Committee, and if it passes through that committee as quickly as it did the Judiciary Committee, it could go before the full Senate for a vote as early as the middle of this week.

The final stop for HB 159 would be Governor Nathan Deal’s desk. The Governor announced this morning the he opposes these last-minute, discriminatory amendments, since they could run afoul of federal non-discrimination protections and threaten the Division of Family and Children Services’ ability to access hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of federal government aid.

Right now, there are more than 10,000 young people in Georgia’s adoption and foster care system—a system that’s strapped for resources as it is, without the threat of losing more funding. What’s more, as amended HB 159 puts the lives of some of Georgia’s most vulnerable young people on the line, creating unnecessary and harmful roadblocks to placing these youth in with loving, forever families.

At the end of the day, HB 159 plays politics with children’s lives. As amended, the legislation is costly and discriminatory, and compromises and otherwise “good” adoption bill.

Senators can fix HB 159—but there are only five days left in the legislative calendar for them to do so. Rush a message to your senator right now and urge them to remove all language from HB 159 that allows for state-sanctioned discrimination.

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Don't let Lt. Gov @CaseyCagle back-track: Urge him to join the GA majority & reject anti-#LGBT religious exemptions: goo.gl/25P4ia pic.twitter.com/Inkru7u8Iy

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