On Wednesday. Gov. Kay Ivey signed House Bill 24 into law in Alabama, making it legal for faith-based adoption agencies to refuse to adopt to gay couples.
Slate reports that the law will not apply to agencies that accept state or federal money, but other adoption services may refuse to adopt to gay couples without suffering any repercussion:
“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.”
The bill was popular in the Alabama Senate, passing in a vote of 23-9 in mid-April along party lines, according to AL.com, then through the State House last week in a vote of 87-0. The Alabama Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act officially says that the state may not “refuse to license or re-license agencies because of policies based on religious beliefs.”
Rep. Rich Wingo, who sponsored the bill, says that the issue is that agencies shouldn’t be afraid they’ll be closed for their religious beliefs, which include discrimination against gay people, of course. “Very thankful to the governor that she believes in and stands up for religious liberty and religious freedom,” said Wingo.
“The bill is not to discriminate against anyone,” he continued, “Nowhere in the bill does it say anything like that or lead you to believe that.”