In Texas, Republicans have pushed the state closer and closer to a law that will allow for publicly-funded foster care and adoption agencies to refuse to place children with non-Christian, unmarried or gay prospective parents because of "so-called" religious objections.
After the House already approved the bill, the Senate gave final approval early Monday morning. Now it goes to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott for his consideration.
The horribly named bill, "Freedom to Serve Children Act," has received quite a bit of criticism from several organizations and individuals alike, stating that it equates to state-funded discrimination. This year with the election of a completely conservative Federal Government, conservatives have made a major theme of creating exemptions for "sincerely held religious beliefs."
State-funded private foster care and adoption agencies make up roughly 25% of all the agencies in Texas. Many agencies already admit that they refuse to work with hopeful adoptive parents that are single, gay, or non-Christian. Like in so many other states, they argue that this bill will protect them from being sued for discrimination.
If passed this bill will be the nation's second state to allow state-funded agencies to legally discriminate against hopeful adoptive parents. South Dakota is current the only other state allowing "state-funded" agencies to legally discriminate. Other states have instituted similar bills but only for private agencies that are not state-funded, they stopped just short of crossing that line.
"Civil rights groups have criticized the measure as funding discrimination with public money. The measure has been opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and LGBT advocacy groups.
'It is unconscionable that a bill would prioritize discrimination over the best interest of kids in the child welfare system, but Texas lawmakers have done just that," said Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign and a foster and adoptive parent."