Next Story

Compromise reached to expand Georgia’s medical marijuana law

Late changes to Georgia adoption bill spur fears of discrimination


Legislation aimed at modernizing Georgia’s adoption laws was changed late Thursday in committee to include language protecting private agencies that receive state money but don’t want to place children with all families.

The move by the Senate Judiciary Committee would essentially protect agencies that may have a faith-based mission and do not want to place children with same-sex couples, although it could be applied broadly. Supporters on the committee said it could also apply to an agency with a mission to place children with African American families, for example.

“It’s just a matter of what options you can provide in the placement of children,” said state Sen. William Ligon, R-Brunswick. “We should do all that we can to ensure those needs are met. It is recognizing the diversity in our culture.”

MORE: Track bills, lawmakers: Georgia Legislative Navigator

The changes to House Bill 159 were done over the objections of its sponsor, state Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta, who said he had been notified of them less than two hours before Thursday’s hearing.

Bobby Cagle, director at the state’s Division of Family and Children Services, said the changes would likely endanger “hundreds of millions of dollars” the agency received from the federal government because they appeared to violate federal nondiscrimination laws.

Others on the panel said they feared it legalized discrimination. If an agency enters “into a contract with the government that is taxpayer-funded, they are bound to provide it in a nonsecular fashion,” said state Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta. “It’s inappropriate for your tax dollars to discriminate against you.”

The committee’s 7-4 vote to approve the bill with the changes moves it on to the powerful Senate Rules Committee, which will decide whether to send the bill to the chamber floor for a vote.


Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Georgia Politics

Georgia resets rules on voter challenges after a town got it wrong
Georgia resets rules on voter challenges after a town got it wrong

A recent string of problems over how local officials challenged the registration of Georgia voters can be summed up in the curt, one-page letter that arrived mid-July at Jennifer Hill’s home near Savannah. Even though she had lived there for three years, the tiny town of Thunderbolt wanted Hill to prove her residency because her name did...
Lawmakers begin talks about how to replace Georgia’s aging vote system
Lawmakers begin talks about how to replace Georgia’s aging vote system

A handful of lawmakers began the discussion Friday about what it might take to move Georgia to a new election system, an important but incremental step toward replacing the state’s aging voting machines. The meeting of the state House Science and Technology Committee represents a start. Any decision will likely take a few years and, depending...
Graham-Cassidy obscures deadlines for other key actions on health care
Graham-Cassidy obscures deadlines for other key actions on health care

Nearly one hundred and fifty million dollars to keep Georgia hospitals’ indigent care afloat. Funding for the PeachCare program that along with Medicaid covers about half of Georgia’s kids. Clear answers on Obamacare subsidies that Blue Cross said it needed to keep selling individual plans in metro Atlanta. Those are some things that Congress...
Georgia ethics panel to begin auditing candidates in governor’s race
Georgia ethics panel to begin auditing candidates in governor’s race

After years of mainly investigating issues raised by Georgians, the state’s ethics watchdog agency plans to aggressively audit campaign filings from all the major statewide races coming up. Stefan Ritter, the executive secretary of the ethics commission, said that while some details still have to be worked out, the agency will be auditing the...
From the Right, the advice for Trump is to try diplomacy
From the Right, the advice for Trump is to try diplomacy

A roundup of editorials Friday looks at the idea that kicking North Korea out of the UN would go a long way toward helping the current situation, and that having President Donald Trump negotiate instead of threaten would be the best move to make.  Here are some opinions from the Right. From The Wall Street Journal: If the world community is serious...
More Stories