On Thursday, Oklahoma’s Republican-majority legislature approved an adoption bill that some say is biased against single parents, non-Christians, and same-sex couples.
According to measure S.B. 1140, which was initiated by Republican state Sen. Greg Treat, “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.”
Under such provision, faith-based adoption and foster care agencies will be permitted to decline partnering with prospective parents on the basis of their religion or marital status.
“This bill is heartless and un-American,” insists Zeke Stokes, a representative for GLAAD, an advocacy group for the LGBTQ community. “No qualified parent should be turned away from adoption or foster agencies simply because they are LGBTQ.”
Proponents of the bill claim it will increase the state’s number of adoptions by allowing religious organizations to participate in finding homes for children in need. Furthermore, it will protect such groups from discrimination.
Upon the measure passing in the Senate in March, Catholic Conference of Oklahoma executive director Brett Farley told Tulsa World , “All the bill does is simply codifies the right of faith-based adoption agencies to continue to operate according to their religious principles. It does not create a new right that does not already exist in state law.”
The proposal will now go to Governor Mary Fallin, who has given no indication of whether she supports it.
On Wednesday, LGBTQ group Freedom Oklahoma promised to pursue legal action if the bill is signed into law.