Press Room

April 26, 2004

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HRC Urges Oklahoma Governor to Veto Anti-Family Measure

&aposWe urge the governor to veto this measure and ensure that children stay united with their parents,&apos said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign today urged Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry to veto a discriminatory anti-family measure that would require the state to not recognize adoptions from other jurisdictions by same-sex couples.

"We urge the governor to veto this measure and ensure that children stay united with their parents," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "Enactment of this bill would mean that if I traveled to Oklahoma with my family, my sons would lose any legal ties to me the moment we set foot in the state. No child and no parent should face that kind of threat."

On April 12, Sen. James Williamson, R-Tulsa, offered the measure (House Bill 1821) as an amendment to another bill. The Senate passed the measure by a 44-0 vote on April 12 and the House by a 93-4 vote on April 26. It now heads to Gov. Henry's desk to sign or veto.

H.B. 1821 would require the state, its agencies and the courts of Oklahoma to not recognize adoptions from other jurisdictions by same-sex couples. The effects of this bill are potentially harmful to same-sex couples who are both legal parents of their children and move to or travel through Oklahoma. The non-biological parent may be denied access to their children in the hospital or barred from making medical decisions for them.

"The bill's progress thus far is yet another unfortunate example of legislators running scared of the extreme religious political activists," said Keith Smith, an Oklahoma lobbyist who worked against this measure. "This legislation is clearly unconstitutional and it must be stopped. It is my hope that saner minds will prevail in Governor Henry's office and he will veto this bill."

Leading child welfare groups have issued position statements in favor of adoption by same-sex couples and/or supporting second-parent adoption for same-sex couples and their children. Among them: American Psychological Association, Child Welfare League of America, American Bar Association, American Psychiatric Association, North American Council on Adoptable Children, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychoanalytic Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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