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It is impossible to imagine any society without policies and laws since they usually help to sort out priorities, protect the interests of the majority, and determine the path to further growth and development. In the modern world, it often happens that policy processes involve heated discussions and the establishment of new movements. The essay is devoted to the policy and decision-making process related to the rights of gay couples in Alabama. In particular, it studies the impact of different forces on the adoption of discriminatory laws.
The Policy Process and Its Outcomes
As it is clear from one of the most recently adopted laws, the government of Alabama has set a course for further clericalization of the society. In Alabama, the relationships between citizens of the same sex became legal at the beginning of the twenty-first century, and it was a significant achievement of gay rights activists. However, the battle of ideas related to faith and equality resulted in the victory of the LGBT rights opposition. Thus, the Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act adopted in 2017 is aimed at protecting religious values (Shugerman, 2017). It allows licensed adoption agencies in the state to use religious beliefs as a legal reason to refuse the right of LGBT families to adopt children.
Endogenous and Exogenous Factors and Their Impact
Variables that impact decision-making can be endogenous and exogenous. In the given case, exogenous factors are presented by social forces such as the religious views and opinions of citizens that the government does not control. In terms of endogenous factors, they include political and legal forces such as the current political constellation and previously adopted legislation.
Political forces that can be presented by authoritative individuals and political parties play a significant role in policy processes all over the world. About the given process, the key forces participating in the adoption of the policy include the Alabama Republican Party and the Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey. About the above-mentioned party, it can be said that many of its representatives are staunch proponents of traditional family values. The position of Republicans concerning the necessity to limit the rights of LGBT families to protect the freedom of faith seems to be supported by many citizens. Thus, less than one-third of people in Alabama think that recognizing LGBT families is necessary (Jones, 2015). This information helps to understand that the level of LGBT support in the state is extremely low, and the position of the majority on the right of these individuals to adopt children is also clear. The political constellation has had a significant impact on both policy formulation and implementation stages of the policy process model.
In terms of the impact that the Republican Party has on the adoption of such acts, it is important to take the composition of the Alabama House of Representatives into account. The latter has 105 seats, and a bit less than three-quarters of its members are the representatives of the Republican Party, which partially explains why the act was passed with more than 80 years (“Alabama House of Representatives,” n.d.). The governor of Alabama has also played an important role in the process, and she expresses her position on the conflict between faith and gay adoption rights in an explicit manner. According to Kay Ivey, the necessity of the act is obvious because many private adoption agencies are religiously affiliated (Shugerman, 2017). Thus, she believes that the success of these agencies’ work heavily depends upon the degree to which their right to the base decision-making process on religious values is respected. As is clear from these examples, the adoption of the policy was markedly impacted by political forces.
The impact that political forces have had on the discussed situation is primarily presented by the willingness to support certain decisions even though they are discriminatory. In this connection, social forces are supposed to have played a different role in the policy process. In general, social forces can be regarded as the key motives that divide citizens into groups and explain why some social changes are needed. In the case under analysis, public attitudes to LGBT people and the religious composition of different counties in Alabama act as significant social forces that have prepared the ground for further actions limiting the rights of gay families. Social support has been influential during the stage of policy implementation. Given that the majority of Alabama residents are likely to regard the policy as helpful, there are no sources of mass protests against the act.
Despite the spread of democratic ideas, almost sixty percent of people living in Alabama do not agree that the decision to give same-sex couples the right to marry legally is necessary, which is similar to the results of Mississippi (Jones, 2015). The difference between the results of these states and the national average is significant, and there is no doubt that the situation with public opinion is favorable to the adoption of such policies. Both religion and political views make people in Alabama oppose same-sex marriage. Thus, almost four-fifths of people supporting Republican views do not recognize LGBT families as valuable social units, and similar opinions are reported by evangelical Protestants of any race (Jones, 2015). It also needs to be noted that Alabama is among the most religious states in the country (Pew Research Center, n.d.).
Unlike social and political factors, economic forces do not relate to the adoption of the policy directly because the primary attention is paid to the battle of faith-based ideology and secular democracy. To put it in other words, the “war of ideas” is difficult to be reduced to economic terms. In general, given the nature of the policy, there are no clear economic motives related to its adoption; instead, the decision to ban all forms of discrimination in the area would be more profitable. Thus, there are no obvious economic variables that have impacted the policy process model.
The decision to limit the rights of LGBT families in the name of protecting religious freedom is not related to external economic factors, but some legal forces are making the act more acceptable. In terms of legal force, this decision seems sequential if we take into account the “no homo promo” policies adopted in Alabama and some other states (Barrett & Bound, 2015). According to these policies, the discussion of non-standard sexual orientation and related issues should be limited or avoided at schools. To some extent, both laws are aimed at protecting children against neutral or positive information related to homosexuality. Preventing LGBT families from adopting children continues this line effectively. The presence of laws that stigmatize homosexuality and prevent the spread of scientifically valid information about it has impacted the stage of problem identification.
In the end, the outcome of the policy process has been impacted by political, social, and legal forces. About their overall influence, it lies in social support, the political constellation favorable for the adoption of the policy, and the experience of placing limitations on the right to share information. These factors affect different stages of the policy process model, making it more complicated.
Alabama House of Representatives. (n.d.). In Ballotpedia. Web.
Barrett, B., & Bound, A. M. (2015). A critical discourse analysis of No Promo Homo policies in US schools. Educational Studies, 51(4), 267-283.
Jones, R. P. (2015). Support for same-sex marriage in Alabama lowest in the nation. Web.
Pew Research Center. (n.d.). Religious composition of adults in Alabama. Web.
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Shugerman, E. (2017). Alabama legalises discrimination against same-sex couples looking to adopt. The Independent. Web.