Texas House OKs bill letting adoption groups deny non-Christians

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The Republican author of the bill says it's not meant to be exclusionary, but others say it's simply taxpayer-funded discrimination.

Frank said faith-based agencies make up about 25 percent of all adoption agencies in the state. It would also apply to programs and organizations that provide assistance to abused or neglected children, counseling services for children and parents, programs that offer support for foster and adoptive parents, and organizations that provide family support services or "family preservation services".

The Texas bill "would allow adoption agencies to turn away qualified, loving parents who are perhaps flawless in every way because the agency has a difference in religious belief", Human Rights Campaign senior legislative counsel Catherine Oakley told the AP.

"I think that any House bill that enforces discrimination or says that one group is better than another group is not in line with the principles and values of America", said Senior Pastor, the Rev. Dr. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas.

In the Austin, Texas, soon the petition of seeking for adoption by childless couples could be rejected by various public or private agencies, and the main objections will be of religious goal, which includes of one being Jewish, Muslim, interfaith, or being gay couples.

Those who oppose the bill say the law would allow agencies to discriminate against potential parents who are gay, single or belong to a religion deemed inappropriate by the placement agency.

The bill also blatantly violates the Constitution, Oakley added.

Frank said his bill directs state child services to ensure that other outside adoption providers without religious objections are made available to help would-be adoptive parents who get turned away by any who do raise objections.


The state Senate has yet to vote on the bill but the upper chamber is considered even more conservative, according to AP. South Dakota passed similar legislation in March but it's too soon to measure its practical effects.

But without "requiring providers to provide advanced notice of what rights they will deny, this is impossible for CPS to do", the House Democratic Caucus said in a tweet responding to that claim.

Nationally and locally, anti-LGBTQ and anti-reproductive rights advocates have strived to frame government oversight and enforcement of nondiscrimination protections as "discrimination".

HB 3859's sponsor, Rep. James Frank (R), has repeatedly distorted the opposition to his legislation.

"When they've already gone through the many levels of review and safety and financial stability in order to be an adopting couple in the first place", Martinez said.

A final vote is set for later Wednesday in the House.

"HB 3859, while well-intentioned, blurs the goals of the legislature", said Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston.

Sponsors of the bill argue that it is created to increase adoption options, by helping to encourage faith-based organizations to continue offering child placement services.

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