Texas House Approves Letting Adoption Groups Deny Non-Christians

Texas House Approves Letting Adoption Groups Deny Non-Christians

Parents seeking to adopt children in Texas could soon be rejected by state-funded or private agencies with religious objections to them being Jewish, Muslim, gay, single, or interfaith couples.

A vote on the bill in the Republican-controlled House scheduled for Saturday was pushed off until Monday, CNN reported.

Criticism is mounting against a Texas bill that would empower adoption providers to reject potential parents who conflict with their religious beliefs.

Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, asked Frank if the bill required agencies to notify the Department of Family and Protective Services when they turn someone away, or if foster parents are required to report that a child has asked for services that they refuse to provide.

Five other states have approved similar laws protecting faith-based adoption organizations that refuse to place children in families based on religion or lifestyle.

The proposed Texas law, like South Dakota's, includes state-funded agencies.

Relevant to your professional network? This means the legislation could have severe consequences not only for same-sex couples who would be denied services, but also for LGBTQ children in the care of these organizations.

"I think that any House bill that enforces discrimination or says that one group is better than another group is not in line with the principles and values of America", said Senior Pastor, the Rev. Dr. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas.

Frank argues that, without legal protection, those organizations may shut down child welfare services entirely and thereby worsen the "critical shortage of foster homes" in Texas.

Frank, who is an adoptive father, said the objective of his bill is "not to exclude or deny services, it is to help as many people as possible to participate in the services in a way that respects all points of view".

Groups such as Catholic Charities have sued elsewhere and even ended services in California, the District of Columbia, Illinois and MA, where they said state adoption and foster care laws forced them to violate their beliefs. "Unfortunately, the ability of numerous faith-based institutions to continue offering services is threatened by the prospect of litigation for declining to provide certain services (such as abortion) because of sincerely held religious beliefs", Frank wrote.

Specifically, the bill prohibits the government from intervening where the agency "provides or intends to provide children under the control, care, guardianship, or direction of the provider with a religious education, including through placing the children in a private or parochial school or otherwise providing a religious education in accordance with the laws of this state", or where the agency provider has "declined or will decline to provide, facilitate, or refer a person for abortions, contraceptives, or drugs, devices, or services that are potentially abortion-inducing".

But without "requiring providers to provide advanced notice of what rights they will deny, this is impossible for CPS to do", the House Democratic Caucus said in a tweet responding to that claim. The bill specifically notes that agencies may not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, or ethnicity, throwing into stark relief the legislature's intent to harm religious minorities, unmarried women, LGBTQ communities, and young people.

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