HRC, Equality Kansas, and ACLU of Kansas Launch Ad Featuring Business Opposition to Anti-LGBTQ Bill

by HRC Staff

HRC joined Equality Kansas, and the ACLU of Kansas in launching a full-page ad — “Keep Kansas Open To All” — today in the Topeka Capital-Journal and tomorrow in the Wichita Eagle. The ad highlights the overwhelming opposition from the business community to HB 2481 — legislation currently pending before the Kansas House of Representatives that would create a license to discriminate with taxpayer funds against LGBTQ foster or adoptive parents, single parents, or other qualified families.
“We’re making sure lawmakers know full well the business community has joined fair-minded voices across Kansas in calling for the rejection of this dangerous bill that threatens the state’s reputation, people, and economy,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “No qualified parent should be discriminated against with taxpayer funds for something that has nothing to do with the best interest of the children in desperate need of loving and caring homes. It’s crucially important the Kansas House of Representatives reject this license to discriminate and send a powerful message that Kansas remains open for business and welcoming to all.”
Members of TechNet — the national, bipartisan network of over 80 technology companies — recently sent a letter to Kansas lawmakers making clear their strong opposition to HB 2481 and warning that discriminatory legislation can have dire consequences on economic development and business competitiveness. In the letter, the major corporations made clear that legalizing discrimination would undermine their ability to continue to invest and grow in Kansas.
HB 2481 could have a sweeping, harmful impact in child welfare services by enabling discrimination against LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced, or other qualified parents to whom an agency has an objection.
Many of the country’s top child welfare organizations have spoken out in opposition of the bill, including the Child Welfare League of America, North American Council on Adoptable Children, National Center for Adoption and Permanency, Foster Club, Voice For Adoption, Foster Adopt Connect, Kansas Appleseed, and Children's Alliance of Kansas. This bill most harms children in the system who are awaiting placement in qualified, loving homes and are instead denied placement with a family due to a lack of prospective parents. Experts agree that child welfare services should be guided by the overarching principle that guides all family law: all determinations should be in the best interest of the child. HB 2481 clearly violates this principle.
HRC recently released a report, titled Disregarding the Best Interest of the Child: License to Discriminate In Child Welfare Services, detailing the harms of efforts to write anti-LGBTQ discrimination by child welfare agencies into law. Statistics suggest that an estimated two million LGBTQ adults in the U.S. are interested in adoption, but the LGBTQ community often remains an untapped resource when it comes to finding families for children and youth in foster care.

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. HB 2481 will only exacerbate these challenges faced by LGBTQ young people.

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