Oklahoma Moves Closer To Passing Anti-Gay Adoption Law On Religious Grounds

LGBTQ organizations are outraged

The House of Representatives in Oklahoma passed on May 3 an adoption bill introduced by State Senator Greg Treat which critics say discriminates against same-sex couples. The law would make no private agency be forced to place a child in a situation that violates the agency’s moral policies or convictions. It was clear the bill was written and passed to protect faith-centric adoption agencies which do not want to put children in LGBT family homes.

Republicans control The Oklahoma House of Representatives. The House voted 56 for and 21 against the bill even as the Democrats vociferously protested against this development. The latter tried some parliamentary methods to derail the bill’s passage. Things became so heated that presiding officers were summoned to the House so that a member could be removed by force. This bill now goes to Mary Fallin, the Republican Governor. She has not given any indication as to whether she will sign the law or not.

The passage of the bill drew sharp reactions from LGBTQ activists. Zeke Stokes, a spokesperson for GLAAD, a registered group fighting for LGBTQ rights, published a statement denoting the bill as un-American and heartless. The organization said that no parent who is qualified to adopt should be turned down from foster or adoption agencies. The measure would permit agencies to reject possible willing parents on the basis of religion or marital status.

Representative Treat said that the bill’s language was mischaracterized. He said that the law does not prohibit gay couples from adopting. He reiterated that all the bill does is to protect faith-centric institutions who want to participate in the adoption process. He mentioned that some such institutions are eagerly waiting to do so. He said that he hopes to get them involved so that the considerable requirement can be satisfied.

Other LGBTQ organizations like Freedom Oklahoma noted that it has plans to ask for legal action if this bill gets enacted. The house has passed an amendment saying that agencies which use that clause on moral or religious objections cannot receive any kind of state funds. Same-sex couples advocates have termed the compromise an acceptable one.

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