Adoption agencies in Texas could soon have the power to refuse service to LGBT+ people.
A proposed bill
would allow both private and state-controlled adoption services to discriminate against prospective parents because of their sexuality, as well as denying service to Jewish people, Muslims, single people, and interfaith couples.
Five US states have provisions that allow private and religious adoption agencies to discriminate, but this would be the first instance of state-funded agencies being allowed to do the same.
The bill will be discussed and voted on at the Texas legislature next week. Supporters of the bill say that it will allow agencies to support their 'religious freedom', while opponents object to publically-funded services being given a license to discriminate.
Responding to the bill, Catherine Oakley, senior legislative counsel for the Human Rights Campaign said: "This would allow adoption agencies to turn away qualified, loving parents who are perhaps perfect in every way because the agency has a difference in religious belief.
"This goes against the best interest of the child."
The bill also blatantly violates the Constitution, Oakley added.
"As a governmental entity, Texas is bound to treat people equally under the law," said Oakley. "This is a violation of equal protection under the law."
Shockingly, the bill could also open the door for organisations to force their religious beliefs upon children in the foster system, including sending LGBT+ children for 'conversion therapy' against their will.
State Representative James Frank, a Republican who authored the bill, defended the legislation. "My guess is if you have an LGBT agency they're going to pick an LGBT family, and if you have a Baptist agency they may be more likely to pick a Baptist family," Frank said. "They're free to do that and should be free to do that."
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