New Texas law allows adoption agencies to ban Jewish, Muslim, gay, single, or interfaith couples

Texas is openly working to violate the Constitution in a truly horrible way – It will hurt children!

May 10, 2017

Texas approved the “Freedom to Serve Children Act” in a 94-51 vote

HB 3859 – “Freedom to Serve Children Act” – This bill would make Texas the nation’s second state to allow state-funded adoption agencies to reject families on religious grounds. Parents seeking to adopt children in Texas could be rejected by public or private agencies with religious objections to them being Jewish, Muslim, gay, single, or interfaith couples.

Five other states have approved similar laws protecting faith-based adoption organizations that refuse to place children with gay parents or other households on religious grounds.

But Texas’ rule extends to state-funded agencies. Only South Dakota’s is similar.

State Rep. James Frank, the bill’s author, says that his bill supports the religious freedom of adoption agencies and foster care providers. Opponents argue it robs children of stable homes while funding discrimination with taxpayer dollars.

Suzanne Bryant, an Austin-based adoption attorney who works with LGBT clients and was one of the first individuals to have a legal same-sex marriage in Texas, said the bill fails to provide alternatives for prospective parents rebuffed by adoption agencies.

“Say you call an agency and say, ‘I’m Jewish,’ and it’s a Catholic agency and they hang up on you,” said Bryant. “The bill says you can be referred to another agency, but there’s no mechanism to set that up.”

Bryan also says that not only could agencies turn away hopeful parents under the religious freedom provision, but they could require children in the foster care system to comply with their faith-based requirements.

As an example, Bryant says:

“Not only could agencies turn away hopeful parents under the religious freedom provision, but they could require children in the foster care system to comply with their faith-based requirements . . . That means child welfare organizations could send LGBT kids to conversion therapy, a treatment designed to turn people straight – which the Pan American Health Organization calls a ‘serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people.’ And they could deny young people contraception and abortions.”

Rebecca Robertson, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas’ legislative and policy director said the proposal violates the Constitution since it involves taxpayer dollars.

The chamber’s Republican majority defeated Democratic modifications to the bill that would have required adoption agencies to document their rejection of families.

This Texas law may not pass constitutional muster, but that hasn’t stopped the state’s lawmakers before, who have in recent years approved a voter ID law and abortion restrictions that were overturned in court.

As a governmental entity, Texas is bound to treat people equally under the law and this bill seems to be a violation of equal protection under the law.

Links to this story

FOX News – Texas adoption agencies could ban Jews, gays, Muslims

Associated Press – Texas adoption agencies could ban Jews, gays, Muslims

PBS.org – Texas House OKs bill letting adoption groups deny non-Christians

ABC news – New Texas law allows adoption agencies to ban Jewish, Muslim, gay, single, or interfaith couples.

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