Alabama House Committee Won’t Advance Bill Targeting LGBT FamiliesBy Megan Clayton • May 4, 2016 • 9:34 am
Good news out of Alabama! While lawmakers in Mississippi, North Carolina and other states have doubled down on anti-LGBT laws, Alabama’s state lawmakers have seen the real harm—both economic and personal—done by this kind of legislation and chose not to go down that road.
The bill last week was postponed indefinitely, meaning it did not to advance House Bill 158, a far-reaching piece of legislation that would have allowed a taxpayer-funded adoption and foster agencies to use religion as an excuse to turn away capable and loving parents, including those who are LGBT.
During the debate on this extreme bill, opponents of LGBT equality resorted to hurtful accusations that LGBT people are not fit parents. But anecdotes and hard data from the hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples raising children in the United States show that line of thinking could not be further from reality. The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Rich Wingo (R-Tuscaloosa) outright admitted that this bill was nothing more than a knee-jerk response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision that same-sex couples have the freedom to marry nationwide.
Alabama’s LGBT advocates and allies, as well as children and family advocates, mounted an intense public outreach and legislative action campaign after the House Health Committee passed the bill on to the Rules Committee on April 13. The next step in the legislative process was a full vote in the House of Representatives.
The Alabama legislature adjourns today, Wednesday, May 4, meaning HB 158 will not advance during the current session. Other anti-LGBT bills awaiting hearings—including HB 158’s companion bill, Senate Bill 204– are also unlikely to make an appearance on the House floor this session.