Revision to state adoption bill under fire from opponents - CBS46 News

Revision to state adoption bill under fire from opponents

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

A political firestorm is burning at the Georgia Capital after some people argue a last minute revision to an adoption bill discriminates against same sex couples.

"A bill like this... It's really frightening," Jonelle Shields McKenzie told CBS46.

McKenzie and her wife are looking to one day adopt.

"We're happy people. We're hard working people. I just know that we will be good parents," McKenzie says.

Now the couple fears they may never get the chance to be parents.

The revision allows adoption agencies to refuse parent referrals based on the agency's mission. Some people, like Senator Vincent Fort, who is running for mayor of Atlanta, say the vague language is a free pass for organizations to deny adoption to same sex couples.

"We know what that meant. That religious organizations [can] object referrals for the LGBT community for adoptive parents," Senator Fort said.

Bobby Cagle of the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services argued at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting that the revision could cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding that could be cut because of discrimination laws.

Governor Nathan Deal spoke out against the revision.

In a statement to CBS46 a spokesperson said the following:

"The governor believes the concerns raised by DFCS director, Bobby Cagle should be given serious consideration. The loss of millions of federal dollars would jeopardize the state's ability to care for our foster children."

Senator William Ligon, the author of the revision, tells CBS46 it doesn't prohibit same sex couples from adopting. He says it just allows an agency who has conflicting values to pass the parents' referral on to another adoption agency.

"This is one way we can come together and say, 'I may not agree with your view and your lifestyle, but we can agree that we need to place children in homes and we can work together with that,'" Senator Ligon said.

The Senate Rules Committee will decide if the bill will go to the chamber floor for a vote.

Governor Deal has not said whether he would veto the legislation.

Senator Ligon says that he is working on an amendment to clarify the language of the revision.

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