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Faith-based Adoption Agencies Prevail in Kansas and Oklahoma Legislation

05-04-2018
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State lawmakers in Kansas and Oklahoma approved bills that give legal protections to faith-based adoption agencies that say their religious beliefs do not allow them to place children in LGBT homes.

Supporters of HB 2481 in Kansas and SB 1140 in Oklahoma say the primary issue is protecting the rights of groups to live out their faith. Opponents view the measures as attacks against LGBT rights.

Eric Teetsel, the president of Family Policy Alliance of Kansas and supporter of the "Adoption Protection Act", tweeted Friday, "We won. All glory to God. Adoption Protection heads to Gov. Colyer for his signature."

 

 

Gov. Jeff Colyer (R-KS) issued a statement of his intent to sign the legislation: "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.

In Oklahoma, similar legislation heads to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin. The Associated Press reported that she has not said if she will sign it.

Opponents of the bills believe they will make discrimination legal at the expense of taxpayers.

"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.

 

 

CBN News reached out to the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ rights organization and opponent of the bills in Kansas and Oklahoma. The organization has not yet responded to our inquiry.

In a press release earlier this month, HRC referred to the bills as "anti-LGBTQ child welfare bills".

"On the first day of National Foster Care Month (May 1), HRC is redoubling its efforts to defeat the anti-LGBTQ bills that would keep these children out of qualified, loving homes," said Ellen Kahn, director of the Children, Youth & Families Program at HRC, in the news release.

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