New Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill into law Wednesday that allows adoption agencies in the state to adhere to faith-based policies that disqualify gay couples from adopting. House Bill 24, passed by the state senate on a party line vote last month, does not apply to adoption agencies receiving state or federal funding. The State House gave its final approval 87-0 last week.
"I ultimately signed House Bill 24 because it ensures hundreds of children can continue to find 'forever homes' through religiously-affiliated adoption agencies,” Gov. Ivey said Wednesday. “This bill is not about discrimination, but instead protects the ability of religious agencies to place vulnerable children in a permanent home.” Proponents of the bill in the deeply conservative state—the very state where Chief Justice Roy Moore repeatedly tried to block federal same-sex marriage laws and was rewarded by being considered for Jeff Sessions' vacant Senate seat—are couching the law in the language of “religious liberty,” which in Alabama is code for legal discrimination. "The bill is not to discriminate against anyone," said sponsor of the bill Rep. Rich Wingo, R-Tuscaloosa. "Nowhere in the bill does it say anything like that or lead you to believe that."
"We are deeply disappointed that the legislature and the governor took on this unnecessary, discriminatory bill instead of focusing on how to improve the lives of all Alabamians, no matter who they are or whom they love," Eva Kendrick, state director of the Human Rights Campaign of Alabama, said in a statement.*
*Correction, May 4, 2017: This post originally misattributed a quote from Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to the head of Human Rights Campaign of Alabama, Eva Kendrick. The misattributed portion of the quote has been removed.