State-funded adoption agencies in Texas are notorious for denying non-religious, gay, and unmarried couples the chance to adopt based on religious grounds. Now, new legislation that was passed in the state House this Tuesday will seek to make sure the practice can be continued.
According to a report from PBS Newshour, the bill, which will now be sent to the even more conservative Senate for passage, will prevent people from suing adoption agencies who discriminate against them.
The private organizations, which are paid by the state to place foster children with adoptive families, want to continue the practice and are seeking legal protections through Texas’ “Freedom to Serve Children Act,” which the GOP-controlled chamber approved 94-51 late Tuesday night.
A final vote will be needed Wednesday to send the measure to the state Senate, which is even more conservative.
This is the second time a bill allowing state-funded adoption agencies to deny couples the chance to adopt based on religion has been introduced in the U.S., with similar legislation being passed in South Dakota. Texas legislators haven’t let the Constitution stop their agenda, with voter ID laws and draconian abortion restrictions both ultimately being overturned in the courts.
According to PBS, Randy Daniels of the Buckner International says that lawsuits are what keeps the Christian child welfare organization awake at night.
“We want to make sure we can practice within the framework of our sincerely held religious beliefs,” Daniels said. “These are our requirements, and we’re clear, this is just who we are. We want to make sure that groups like Buckner continue to have a place at the table because we bring solutions.”
From NBC News:
Many Texas adoption agencies admit they don’t work with adoptive parents who are single, gay or non-Christian, and the bill could keep them from being sued. Supporters of the measure say LGBT couples will be able to find agencies without religious objections, but critics call is state-funded discrimination.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015 saw around 428,000 American children in foster care and those numbers are growing. Agencies that limit adoptions to Christians will only make a growing problem worse.