An Oklahoma House committee has approved a bill that seeks to allow religious child welfare organizations, including adoption and foster care agencies, to discriminate against same-sex couples.
Senate Bill 1140 cleared the Senate last month with an overwhelming 35-9 vote in Oklahoma adoption matter.
The bill states: “To the extent allowed by federal law, no private child placing agency shall be required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.”
Senate Majority Floor Leader Greg Treat, a Republican from Oklahoma City, has defended his bill, arguing that it would increase the number of adoptions in Oklahoma by expanding the pool of faith-based organizations participating.
The House Judiciary Committee advanced the bill to the full House for consideration, adding an amendment that excludes agencies that receive state funding.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT rights advocate, said that the bill does not take into account the best interest of children.
“SB 1140, if passed, would allow state-licensed child-placing agencies to disregard the best interest of children and turn away qualified Oklahomans seeking to care for a child in need,” Cathryn Oakley, state legislative director and senior counsel at HRC, said during a press conference. “This would include LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced or other parents to whom the agency has a religious objection.”
by Carlos Santoscoy, ontopmag.com, April 12, 2018
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