This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 9 °C Friday 22 February, 2019
Advertisement

Oklahoma passes law allowing adoption agencies deny children to LGBT families on religious grounds

It’s similar to laws in at least five other states.

File.
File.
Image: Daniel Leal-Olivas

OKLAHOMA LEGISLATORS HAVE approved a measure to grant legal protections to faith-based adoption agencies that cite their religious beliefs for not placing children in LGBT homes and lawmakers in Kansas were close to passing a similar measure.

The Oklahoma House’s 56-21 vote sent its measure to Republican Governor Mary Fallin, who has not said whether she would sign it. It’s similar to laws in at least five other states.

In Kansas, the GOP-controlled House approved a bill, 63-58, that would prevent faith-based agencies from being barred from providing foster care or adoption services for the state if they refuse to place children in homes violating their “sincerely held” religious beliefs. The Republican-dominated Senate had to approve it also, but that was expected because it passed an earlier version in March.

Supporters of such measures argue that the core issue is protecting a group’s right to live out its religious faith, while critics see them as attacks on LGBT rights. In Kansas, the measure split majority Republicans.

Kansas GOP Gov. Jeff Colyer supported his state’s legislation, with his administration arguing that it would encourage faith-based groups to place more abused and neglected children in state custody.

Backers of the Kansas bill acknowledged that faith-based agencies have been operating in Kansas for decades without issue. But they fear that lawsuits or turnover among state officials could result in an environment hostile to some religious groups’ views.

“This is a matter of activist groups who don’t like certain religious beliefs and they want to use the power of the government to crush people that operate according to those religious beliefs,” said Kansas Catholic Conference director Michael Schuttloffel.

LGBT-rights advocates argue that enacting such a law would sanction discrimination and support it with taxpayer dollars.

TechNet, representing some of the biggest names in tech, including Apple and Google, sent a letter to lawmakers in both states opposing their measures. Critics in Kansas worried that it would make the state look backward and even suggested it could hurt the economy.

“If you care about jobs, vote no on this,” said Rep. Brandon Whipple, a Wichita Democrat.

The Oklahoma bill cleared the GOP-controlled Legislature over the boisterous objections of Democrats. At one point, the chamber’s presiding officer threatened to have a member forcibly removed.

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Associated Press

Read next:

COMMENTS (216)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel

     

    Trending Tags