February 06, 2018
Governor Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) never met a religious freedom bill he liked -- and the state's newest adoption proposal isn't likely to change that. The Georgia Republican, who valiantly displayed all the traits of a coward on the issue a year and a half ago, is back at it, threatening the state's conscience protections for faith-based groups.
After demanding a "clean" adoption bill from lawmakers, the state's conservatives obliged -- but only until they could introduce a standalone proposal that would give adoption agencies the freedom to turn down prospective parents based on their lifestyle. "Some will believe in same-sex marriage, others don't, whether it's by faith or other reasons," the bill's sponsor, Republican State Senator William Ligon said. "As a pluralistic society, we need to figure out ways to accommodate that and not pressure one group to accept another group's version of marriage."
Even before the Obergefell ruling, adoption was an explosive issue in places like Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts, who cut off government grants for organizations like Catholic Charities because they sought what the social science research made abundantly clear were the safest and most nurturing environment for kids. If Deal gets his way, it would be open season on groups who take the well-being of children into account in adoption placement.
This is how backwards we've become as a society. America's focus is no longer the well-being of children but on the "well-being" of a small but well organized political minority that uses Saul Alinsky tactics to force politicians into doing their illogical bidding. There's an abundance of social science data supporting the common-sense belief that children do best when raised by a married mother and father. In the largest peer-review study ever done on same-sex parenting, Dr. Mark Regnerus found that the emotional, financial, academic, and physical outcomes of kids raised in same-sex homes rated "suboptimal" or "negative" in almost every category. Because of that, there's every rational basis for agencies to prefer natural families over same-sex couples in adoption.
Why would anyone -- including Deal -- put the agencies that care about the social science out of business? Faith-based adoption agencies should never have to choose between their beliefs and helping people. That would be devastating – and not just for Georgia. Believe it or not, one of the biggest engines for adoption in America are private, social service agencies like Catholic Charities, who would sooner close its doors than compromise their biblical beliefs.
If Georgia accepts Deal's terms, faith-based groups would be driven out of the adoption business -- leaving children and prospective parents with even fewer options for building families. Adoption is not -- and should never be -- about adults. This is about giving children the best chance to succeed in life. It's a shame Nathan Deal refuses to.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.