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“Religious Liberty” bill gets favorable report

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, February 7, 2017, the House Health Committee gave a favorable report for HB24 which would protect the freedom of religiously affiliated adoption agencies to refuse to place a child with same-sex parents.

House Bill 24 is sponsored by Rep. RIch Wingo (R-Tuscaloosa). Wingo told the committee that his bill is about religious liberty and freedom. “It does not prohibit gay or lesbian couples from adopting or fostering a child.”

Rep. Wingo said that religious liberty is protected by the US Constitution; but in Illinois groups that place children for adoption were told that they had to place children with same-sex couples, even though that violates their religious beliefs or go out of business. The Catholic Church was forced to comply or close: they closed their adoption services.

State Representative Wingo said that 30 percent of the adoption placing agencies in the State are religiously affiliated. The State depends on these non-profits.

Wingo said that he met with Alabama DHR and Eric Johnson several times working on this bill.

Rep. Wingo disputed the claim that the State would lose $42 million in Federal funding from the US Deparment of Health and Human Services (HHS) if they passed his bill.

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Shane Smith spoke in opposition to the bill. He is a family law attorney in Birmingham Alabama. He expressing his concerns that the State could risk losing this funding. He argued that allowing discrimination based on religious beliefs is not acceptable. This bill is endangering the State and leaving us open to unnecessary services

Anna Boyd spoke in favor of the legislation. She said that she was adopted into a loving Christian family and that the agency that made that possible would be forced to go out of business if the State does not protect their religious liberties.

Birmingham Attorney Eric Johnston also spoke in behalf of HB24. “They believe one man and one woman is a family. It would be offensive to their religious beliefs to place a child in a same-sex or polygamous home.”

The Social Workers Union Representative spoke against passing the bill.

Wingo said that his bill does not discriminate against same sex couples as they have other options on where to adopt.

Historically, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have all viewed homosexual acts as the gravest of sins. Without passing this legislation then a Christian mother who is considering placing her child up for adoption would be unable to be assured that the family receiving the child shares her Christian beliefs, including the belief that homosexuality is a rebellion against God and His authority.

Homosexual groups insist that their right to adopt and be foster parents supersedes the rights of Churches and birth mothers right to live their religious beliefs.

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State Representative Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) opposes HB24. Rep. Todd said on Facebook, “Wingo’s discrimination bill is second on calendar tomorrow. Please flood the phone lines to Wingo and your representative.’

This bill could pass out of the House as early as today.

 

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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