William Ligon says banning LGBT parents will make it easier to find homes for foster kids



D’Anne WitkowskiWhile the nation has been grappling with the fact that we have too many guns, there is something else we have too many of that’s not getting enough attention: children in the foster care system. And interestingly enough, the Republican plan for dealing with these two issues couldn’t be more different.

When it comes to guns, Republicans don’t want to ban anything. In fact, they say the more guns the merrier! Give every teacher a gun! Have armed guards roaming the streets! Everybody gets a tank!

But when it comes to the hundreds of thousands of kids in the child welfare system, Republicans are all about banning potential parents — specifically, LGBTQ parents.

In fact, I would not be surprised if Republicans believed children would be better off with an AR-15 as a parent than with two dads. Come to think of it, that’s probably being written into the law advancing in Georgia that would allow adoption agencies to refuse LGBTQ people on “religious freedom” grounds.

The bill, called the Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act, was sponsored by Georgia Sen. William Ligon, who claims, “The goal is to open as many doors as possible for those children that are in need of homes, and this bill will do that.”

And how does limiting the number of families an agency will work with increase the number of homes available? Well, it doesn’t.

But Ligon believes that this bill would result in religious adoption agencies flocking to Georgia where they can be anti-gay in peace. Or anti-single-parent. Or anti-Muslim. Or anti-whatever they want so long as they say Jesus is the reason for the season.

In other words, if two women want to adopt a child, this law would allow agencies to say, “Nope, Jesus thinks little Johnny would be better off without a family at all than with you. Now get out of our office before our Virgin Mary statue starts bleeding from her eyes.”

“Just because you are a faith-based organization, doesn’t mean you have to check your faith at the door and cannot participate in government programs,” Ligon told WRAL.com.

But, funny story, actually it does. If you are “faith-based,” you don’t pay taxes. And if you don’t pay taxes then, yeah, I think it’s okay if you’re excluded from taxpayer-funded areas of civic life, especially if you want a license to discriminate.

It’s important to note that Georgia isn’t the first or the only state to try to do this. Michigan, for example, is currently being sued by the ACLU over a similar law that Gov. Rick Snyder signed in 2015. In Texas, a law enacted in 2017 allows child welfare providers to use “sincerely held religious beliefs” to discriminate against potential parents.

The Georgia bill is getting a lot of attention, which is nice to see considering how the news cycle is so frantic that it’s hard for anything to gain much traction these days.
Chelsea Clinton tweeted about the bill: “Because what we clearly need right now is … less love? Fewer loving parents?”

To which some Twitter users probably screamed at her, “YOUR MOM LOST THE ELECTION SHUT UP AND GO KNIT A MAGA HAT!” Because Twitter is full of monsters.

People in the film industry, which does a lot of business in Georgia, also took notice. Showrunner Ben Wexler tweeted, “To my fellow showrunners: if this dumb bill becomes law, let’s be done filming television shows in Georgia.”

It really does seem like economic pressure is the only thing Republicans understand (see: North Carolina’s bathroom bill fallout).

So if this bill passes, you could boycott Georgia. Or you could work like hell to help get the GOP out of office there. And in Michigan. And everywhere.

D’Anne Witkowski is a freelance writer and poet and a writing teacher at the Universtiy of Michigan. She writes the weekly “Creep of the Week” column for Q Syndicate.