Texas House OKs letting adoption groups deny non-Christians

Texas bill would let adoption agencies refuse parents on religious grounds

Texas bill would let adoption agencies refuse parents on religious grounds

The Texas House of Representatives today passed House Bill 3859, a bill that would allow state-funded or private adoption agencies to cite religion as a reason for refusing adoption requests by LGBTQ couples, as well as Jewish, Muslim, single Americans, or interfaith couples, in the state of Texas.

As it stands now if two-thirds of the Texas House vote in favor of the bill, it will go into effect immediately.

Republican sponsors of Texas' bill say it is created to support the religious freedom of adoption agencies and foster care providers.

Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, asked Frank if the bill required agencies to notify the Department of Family and Protective Services when they turn someone away, or if foster parents are required to report that a child has asked for services that they refuse to provide.

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Publicly funded adoption agencies that ban non-Christian, unmarried, or gay prospective parents could soon be shielded by the state of Texas.

Relevant to your professional network? Foster care providers could also deny contraceptive care to foster children on religious grounds.

But his proposal is just one of 24 pending bills in the Texas Legislature that LGBT advocates say encourage discrimination.

House Bill 3859 - states the government or anyone working with the state's child welfare system who operates within Texas under government authority are not allowed to "discriminate or take any adverse action", such as lawsuits, against adoption agencies that choose to "decline to provide, facilitate or refer a person for child welfare services" due to their "sincerely held religious beliefs".

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Rep. James Frank, the Wichita Falls Republican who authored the bill and an adoptive father, said repeatedly during a lengthy debate Tuesday that his legislation is not meant to be exclusionary but to give providers some certainty when it comes to legal disputes.

He said the bill was "not a true religious accommodation" because it is too sweeping and the rights were not balanced with Texas' interest in the welfare of children in its care.

"As a governmental entity, Texas is bound to treat people equally under the law", said Oakley. While the opponents disagree with the bill, and the policies made by the Republicans, as they say, the bill is funding the discrimination among people. "Unfortunately, the ability of numerous faith-based institutions to continue offering services is threatened by the prospect of litigation for declining to provide certain services (such as abortion) because of sincerely held religious beliefs", Frank wrote.

At a committee hearing on the bill in March, representatives from several religiously aligned groups testified that without the protections provided by the bill, they will be forced to shut down their foster care or adoption programs.

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This would have serious consequences for a range of vulnerable communities, including young people and families.

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