In a move that could have serious implications, the state House has passed a bill that will make it harder for orphaned children to find homes.Texas has preliminarily approved a bill allowing adoption agencies to reject candidates based on religion. While religious groups are celebrating the victory of religious freedom, opponents are upset the bill will make it more difficult for children to get adopted in Texas.
Faith groups have been fighting for the right to discriminate against groups of people, claiming these people are not worthy enough to adopt the children in their care. This means Christian adoption centers will now be able to turn away couples seeking to adopt if their way of life or religious beliefs are not compatible with their own. LGBTQ couples, pro-choice couples and even couples from other religions may be turned down by these adoption centers.
Until now, adoption centers have had to adopt a policy of acceptance towards couples from all communities and groups. This has been a cause of consternation to adoption centers who express fears that the children will not be brought up with Christian values. A similar bill was passed in South Dakota, and if the bill passes in Texas, it will be the second state in the nation to do so.
Proponents of the bill, however, have been arguing the bill is not meant to exclude anyone but simply to protect the religious liberty of the faith-based organizations. Rep. James Frank, the author of the bill himself insisted that instead of promoting discrimination, the bill is meant to give some solid ground to providers in times of legal disputes.
Opponents of the bill are not consumed by this claim, shooting back that the bill gives legislative rights to faith-based groups to discriminate against people. They also argue by passing such a bill, the opportunities for adoption the orphans would have received have now been narrowed down. Rep. Jessica Farrar voiced this opinion when she said the state had just cast the children farther off from the chance to get into new families. Austin’s Democrat Rep. Celia Israel feels the bill was passed for political reasons rather than in the better interests of the children.
— Ron Hearn (@ronincoquitlam) May 7, 2017
The Republican-majority House even rejected the Democrats’ proposal that the bill include making it mandatory for adoption centers to document each rejection they make.
The House must make a final vote on the bill before it can move on to the senate.