February 20, 2020
In early 2020, the Georgia Senate considered a bill that would, in part, “prohibit child-placing agencies from being required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the placement violates certain religious or moral convictions of the child-placing agency.” (The bill did not pass, but could be revisited next year.)
According to many Jewish critics of proposed Georgia Senate bill 368, the legislation would allow adoption and foster care agencies to reject prospective Jewish and other minority couples while receiving government funding.
At the time, Allison Padilla-Goodman, vice president of the southern division of the Anti-Defamation League, stated: “It is shocking that the state of Georgia is considering a bill that openly sanctions discrimination against Jews, LGBTQ people and others. Allowing a taxpayer-funded child placement agency to discriminate is outrageous. No child should be denied a loving foster or adoptive home simply because of a prospective parent’s religion, sexual orientation or identity. We urge the state legislature to not pass the bill.”
Leslie Anderson, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Atlanta, told the AJT that the proposed legislation goes against Jewish values. “The Torah states that we need to help the widow and orphan.” But she also pointed out that the language in the legislation is “overly broad and could allow for all kinds of discrimination based on religion. This would give religious groups carte blanche to do what they want, without any opportunity for remedy.”
She said that she didn’t expect the legislature to pass the bill, and it did not. It is unknown whether the bill would be proposed again in 2021.