Legislation would enshrine special taxpayer-funded discrimination into law
WASHINGTON — Today, major child advocacy groups joined the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, in opposing an extreme anti-LGBT adoption bill in Texas that is dangerously close to becoming law.
Texas HB 3864, which has passed through the House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee, would enshrine special discrimination rights into law by allowing adoption agencies contracted by the state to discriminate with taxpayer funds against prospective parents based on the provider’s religious beliefs. The bill and its Senate companion SB 1935 are among more than 20 pieces of anti-LGBT legislation being considered by the Texas legislature.
In a letter to Texas lawmakers, the Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI), Voice for Adoption (VFA), and North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) blasted the legislation that would empower adoption agencies to discriminate against eligible parents and guardians. If passed, the discriminatory bill would deny countless children access to caring homes. It could also prevent eligible interfaith couples, same-sex couples, and couples where one individual was previously divorced, the opportunity to care for a child in need.
“We urge you to examine the research that demonstrates if we truly wish to act in good conscience towards children waiting for permanent families, we must not exclude qualified and eager prospective foster and adoptive parents,” the letter states. “Foster and adoptive parent applicants should be judged based on their qualifications, not their sexual orientation or gender identity. Enshrining discrimination into law, on the other hand, will undermine the safety and well-being of Texas’ children.”
“This is tantamount to taxpayer-funded discrimination, as many of the state’s private adoption agencies have large public contracts,” said Ellen Kahn, director of HRC’s Children, Youth and Families Program. “We call on Texas legislators to choose the best interests of the child over discrimination, and abandon this bill aimed at hurting Texans who wish to provide caring homes for children.”
If passed, this legislation would allow private child placement agencies acting on behalf of the state to discriminate on the basis of gender, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity and family status. For instance:
Agencies could prefer single women over single men.
Agencies could prohibit interfaith couples from adopting.
Agencies could prefer couples or individuals who adhere to the faith of the agency’s religious entity, or refuse service to individuals of certain faiths altogether.
This legislation could also prevent the state from cancelling a contract with an organization that subjected children in its care to the damaging and discredited practice of so-called conversion therapy.
“May is National Foster Care Month, which is all about finding families for the 100,000 children who are waiting for a permanent home,” said HRC’s Kahn. “Anyone who supports this legislation is clearly not in touch with the pressing needs of the children of Texas. "
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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