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Pt 1: Life University’s Women’s Rugby Team Uses Tournament Game to Raise Awareness About LGBT Equality Women's Rugby Team ~ Marietta, GA
BREAKING: Senate Passes SB 375 Targeting LGBT Foster Children and Same-Sex Adoptive Couples for Discrimination February 23, 2018

This morning, the Senate passed SB 375 by a 35-19 vote, despite calls from child welfare advocates, businesses and thousands of individual Georgians to back away from this dangerous License to Discriminate.

The legislation would allow taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to turn away same-sex couples and even refuse to work with children in need who identify as LGBT.

Jeff Graham, executive director at Georgia Equality, said after the vote that it was a serious step backward for Georgia that lawmakers advanced “mean-spirited” legislation that ultimately will hurt the nearly 14,000 children who are awaiting loving homes in Georgia’s adoption and foster-care system.

“No one is trying to undermine freedom of religion in Georgia—that’s why religiously affiliated adoption agencies already enjoy the freedom to work exclusively with families that share their faith values,” he said. “This legislation goes out of its way to make it harder for loving and committed same-sex couples to start a family—and unfortunately, it’s children in need of permanent homes who will pay the steepest price.”

Child welfare advocates—including Emory University’s Barton Child Law and Policy Center—have said clearly SB 375 won’t improve Georgia’s adoption and foster care system. In fact, children will wait longer for loving homes if qualified LGBT parents are excluded.

And according to the Barton Center, since SB 375 would allow agencies to refuse to work with LGBT youth, it essentially guarantees they will stay longer in foster care, reducing the likelihood they’ll be adopted at all.

Businesses are also warning that hostile bills like SB 375 will negatively impact Georgia’s ability to attract new investments, including Amazon’s much-sought-after second headquarters, for which Georgia is a top-20 contender. On the line are 50,000 new and high-paying jobs and $5 billion in investment from the tech company.

“First Data is based in Atlanta and we are proud to call Georgia home. However, we are strongly opposed to SB 375, the proposed legislation in Georgia that we believe perpetuates discrimination against the LGBT community. First Data is committed to fostering an inclusive workplace that promotes fairness and diversity, and the proposed legislation violates our core belief that all Americans deserve to be treated equally and respectfully.” —Cindy Armine-Klein, First Data’s Chief Control Officer

Both the Atlanta Metro Chamber and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce oppose the legislation, noting that “Legislation that sanctions discrimination takes us further away from our goal of attracting investment that would improve the lives of Georgia families.”

And global commerce giant First Data says SB 375 “violates our core belief that all Americans deserve to be treated equally and respectfully.” According to Cindy Armine-Klein, First Data’s Chief Control Officer:

“First Data is based in Atlanta and we are proud to call Georgia home. However, we are strongly opposed to SB 375, the proposed legislation in Georgia that we believe perpetuates discrimination against the LGBT community. First Data is committed to fostering an inclusive workplace that promotes fairness and diversity, and the proposed legislation violates our core belief that all Americans deserve to be treated equally and respectfully.”

Make sure your lawmakers hear from you about how bad SB 375 is: Sign up for Georgia Equality’s March 1 Lobby Day.

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