A bill working its way through the Oklahoma legislature would allow religious-based adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples, single people and non-Christians.
The Oklahoma state Senate just passed Senate Bill 1140 by a vote of 35-9.
According to the Associated Press, SB1140 would “cover child-placing agencies that block adoptive parents who do not meet the agencies’ religious or moral standards.”
Check that last part – “moral standards.”
The bill now heads to the state House where the Republicans hold a huge majority of 73-28.
Clearly, the effect of the legislation will be to keep children from loving homes.
The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement which read in part:
“Bills such as SB 1140 are a clear attempt to solve a ‘problem’ that simply doesn’t exist while enshrining anti-LGBTQ discrimination into law,” said Marty Rouse, national field director for HRC. “If lawmakers in Oklahoma truly wanted to help find permanent homes for the children in the child welfare system, they wouldn’t be focusing on narrowing the pool of potential parents, which only hurts those kids. HRC calls on the Oklahoma House to reject this needless, harmful bill.”
Research consistently shows that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the foster care system, as many have been rejected by their families of origin because of their LGBTQ status, and are especially vulnerable to discrimination and mistreatment while in foster care. SB 1140 will only exacerbate the challenges faced by LGBTQ young people.
This bill is similar to SB 375, which passed in the Georgia State Senate last month.
Since Donald Trump’s election, several states including Alabama, South Dakota and Texas have passed similar laws.