Faith based adoption agencies in Kansas and Oklahoma will soon be getting legal protection if they refuse to place children in same sex homes.
Lawmakers in those states passed bills last week that grant legal protections to faith-based adoption agencies that cite their religious beliefs for not placing children in LGBT homes. Alabama, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia have similar laws.
By a 63-58 vote, the Kansas state House approved a bill that would prevent faith-based agencies from being barred from providing foster care or adoption services for the state if they refuse to place children in homes violating their “sincerely held” religious beliefs. The next day, the Kansas Senate also passed the legislation protecting faith based adoption agencies by a vote of 24-15.
“All Glory to God” for Faith Based Adoption Agency Bill
Eric Teetsel, the president of Family Policy Alliance of Kansas and supporter of the “Adoption Protection Act,” tweeted, “We won. All glory to God. Adoption Protection heads to Gov. Colyer for his signature.”
Gov. Jeff Colyer (R-KS) supported the legislation and tweeted his intent to sign it: “Catholic Charities and other adoption agencies are key to the fabric of our communities. I look forward to signing this bill because it increases the opportunities for needy children to find loving homes.”
“Real joy and relief and thankfulness, too,” Teetsel told CBN News. “This was a long and arduous battle that we were waging—that had been going on for months with numerous obstacles all along the way.”
“It really felt like spiritual warfare doing everything,” he continued.
“This is a really good bill at an important, critical time,” Teetsel said. “We have seen in several states and municipalities faith-based adoption and foster care service providers be forced out of business because the government said to them, ‘You’re either gonna do your business according to our values, or we’re gonna drive you out of business.'”
“Unfortunately, most of those places lacked sufficient protection to secure their fundamental right to live and work, to help kids in need according to their sincerely held religious beliefs,” he told CBN News.
The Oklahoma House’s 56-21 vote sent its measure to Gov. Mary Fallin, who has not said whether she would sign it.
Supporters of the legislation say the primary issue is protecting the rights of groups to live out their faith. Opponents view the measures as attacks against LGBT rights.
Critics to the Faith Based Adoption Agency Bills
TechNet, representing some of the biggest names in tech, including Apple and Google, sent a letter to lawmakers in both states opposing their measures. Critics in Kansas worried that it would make the state look backward and even suggested it could hurt the economy.
“If we become a state that is shown to discriminate, how easy is it going to be for us to go out and recruit new talent and retain them once we get them here?” said Northeast Johnson County Chamber of Commerce (Kansas) president Deb Settle.
“If they’re originally from Kansas, how are we going to keep them here, if we’re a state that’s showing discrimination?” she continued.
Meanwhile, supporters said that passing the measure could encourage groups providing limited services for the state or doing only private adoptions to work more with the state. Colyer’s administration has said some out-of-state agencies could be attracted to Kansas.
In Oklahoma, sponsoring state Sen. Greg Treat, an Oklahoma City Republican, said he believes his measure will help get more children into loving homes.
“I believe this bill aids and gets more people involved in the system,” he said.