Georgia Bill Regarding Domestic Relations and Adoption (HB 159)
This law was last updated on Sep 11, 2018
HB 159 is an omnibus adoption bill that revises current state laws regarding adoption requirements, parental rights, maternity leave, child-placing agencies, and more.
The bill would allow a child-placing agency to refuse to accept a referral for foster care or adoption services under a contract with the Department of Human Services based on the child-placing agency’s mission as evidenced by its written policy, statement, or other document.
If a child-placing agency declines to accept a referral, the department would be required to immediately refer those services to another child-placing agency. The department may not take any adverse action against a child-placing agency or an organization that seeks to become a child-placing agency on the basis, wholly or partly, that such child-placing agency or organization has not accepted or will not accept a referral for foster care or adoption services that are not within the mission of such child-placing agency or organization as evidenced by its written policy, statement, or other document.
Additionally, the bill would allow a child-placing agency to decline to perform any service (regardless of contract) that conflicts with the child-placing agency’s mission as evidenced by its written policy, statement, or other document, and the department would be prohibited from taking any adverse action against such child-placing agency for declining to perform such service.
Under this law, child-placement agencies would be allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples or LGBTQ individuals looking to adopt.
Passed the house on February 24, 2017, by a 165-0 vote.
On January 11, 2018, the Senate Committee on Judiciary offered a substitute to HB 159, which removed the language that would have allowed child-placing agencies to refuse to accept referrals for foster care or adoption service based on their mission.
The new version of the bill passed the senate on January 18, 2018, by a 40-13 vote.
The house agreed to the substitute on February 1, 2018, by a 168-0 vote.
The senate voted for final passage on February 5, 2018, by a 53-2 vote.
Signed by Gov. Nathan Deal (R) on March 3, 2018.