Oklahoma Passes Law to Prevent LGBTQ Parents From Adopting

While the Supreme Court made adoption by same-sex couples legal throughout the country, some states are still finding ways to make it more difficult for LGBTQ people to adopt. Such is the case in Oklahoma, where lawmakers have passed a bill allowing adoption agencies to discriminate on religious grounds.

Basically, you’ve heard this conservative argument before on behalf of businesses and county clerks – if an adoption agency has a “sincerely held religious belief” against certain “lifestyles,” then it does not have to place children in perfectly safe and caring households. The same goes for institutions that facilitate foster care arrangements.

Because government agencies cannot claim those kinds of religious beliefs, any adoption agency that is funded by state or federal money is exempt from the legislation. However, private agencies could very much declare that homosexuality is a sin and refuse to help LGBTQ adults become parents.

So far both the Oklahoma House and Oklahoma Senate have passed similar versions of this legislation. Now it’s just a matter of getting both assemblies to settle on one version and send it to Governor Mary Fallin, who is expected to sign it.

Oddly, advocates for this bill argued that it’s necessary to turn into law because of a rise in children without families. While it would seem that’s actually an argument to not eliminate potential parental candidates because of their sexual orientations, legislators claimed that fewer agencies are willing to do this work period because they don’t want to have to help create LGBTQ-friendly families.

The House bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Travis Dunlap, acknowledged that the bill could be used to prevent children from being placed with gay couples, but he also disingenuously contended, “Some could argue this bill actually protects organizations who believe they should place children [with gays] because they have the religious obligation.” Sure, Oklahoma is totally known for progressive attitudes like that hypothetical one!

Already, several other states including Alabama, Texas and South Dakota have passed comparable laws of their own, practically daring the courts to get involved to prevent discrimination supposedly on the basis of faith. Meanwhile, legislators in Kansas are currently discussing their own version of the bill, the Adoption Protection Act.

The Human Rights Campaign is now calling on Oklahoma’s Republican governor (who incidentally criticized the Supreme Court’s decision to support same-sex marriage) to veto the bill. “[It’s] a deeply discriminatory bill rooted in animus toward the LGBTQ community that would harm children in need and discriminate against loving families who want to open their hearts and homes,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.

Let’s remember that pretty much all the research points to LGBTQ people being equally good at parenting as their heterosexual counterparts. There’s no good reason to pass laws allowing adoption agencies to discriminate against gay prospective parents, making this legislation just another attempt by conservatives to appeal to their homophobic constituents.

43 comments

Marie W
Marie W26 days ago

Thank you.

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Karen H
Karen H5 months ago

Connecticut is encouraging same sex couples to adopt and foster children.

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DAVID f
Dave fleming5 months ago

TY

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Diane E
Diane E6 months ago

Children need loving, caring parents. Heterosexuality does not automatically qualify a person to be a parent. Gay or non-binary people have love and loyalty to give to children. Please open adoption to all groups.

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Karen H
Karen H6 months ago

Their reasoning is that adopting couples should mirror the holy family. In other words, heterosexual male and female. Which can lead to news stories like: Authorities in Riverside County, Calif. say that a husband and wife are in custody after allegedly chaining their children to beds in filthy conditions. Police say that [the married couple] sexually abused their three teenaged children. 10 kids who were tortured by their parents were waterboarded, shot with crossbows and had scalding water poured on them. Holy family. Right. Just because a couple is male/female doesn't make them ideal parents.

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Joan E
Joan E6 months ago

Oklahoma, this is not OK.

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Lesa D
Lesa DiIorio6 months ago

SHAME on Oklahoma...

thank you Kevin...

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Caitlin L
Caitlin L6 months ago

thank you

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John W
John W6 months ago

TYFST

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Karen H
Karen H6 months ago

My "sincerely held religious belief" says any qualified couple (male/female, male/male, female/female) should be able to adopt. Would Oklahoma prefer that these kids languish in orphanages or foster homes? How "Christian" is that?

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