Bill to protect adoption agencies that turn away gay couples

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A Senate committee has advanced a bill to let faith-based adoption agencies, including those that care for state foster children, turn away gay couples on religious grounds.

The Senate Health Committee on Wednesday voted 6-1 for the legislation that would prohibit the state from refusing to license, or contract with, adoption groups that refuse services to people on religious grounds

Sen. Bill Hightower says his bill would protect the 30 percent of adoption agencies are faith-based. Hightower says the bill would keep that adoption channel open for needy foster children.

Denise Brogan-Kator of the Family Equality Council says it would give groups the "state's permission and taxpayer dollars" to discriminate against gay couples who want to adopt.

A House committee has passed a similar bill.