Discrimination has got to stop. Every day, it seems like more and more people are being unfairly treated based upon those whom they choose to love or what they choose to believe in. In a nation where so much progress has been made — one where we should be able to freely love who we want and practice our beliefs in peace — it's saddening that people must continue to fight tooth and nail for their rights. And laws like the one recently introduced in the Lonestar State, which would allow Texas adoption agencies to reportedly reject Jewish, Muslim, LGBTQ, single, and interfaith couples, only serve to widen the gap between Americans.
The whole point of adoption is to connect children in need of homes and families with those willing to provide support, stability, and love. It is why this bill in Texas does not make much sense. The bill would allow state-funded or private agencies the ability to reject parents wanting to adopt based on the organization's beliefs or religious objections.
But it gets even worse. According to ABC News, this bill would not only allow for agencies to turn away parents, but it would also have an effect on the foster care system in Texas, allowing the foster care system to comply with faith based requirements as well. This means that child welfare organizations could send LGBTQ kids to conversion therapy or deny young people contraception because of their personal beliefs not aligning with the organization's.
This bill becoming a reality isn't some pipe dream, either. The bill will be voted on next week in the state House, according to ABC News. So why do Texas law makers think this bill is a good idea? Proponents of the bill say it "supports the religious freedom of adoption agencies and foster care providers," according to The Washington Post, and is designed to fix the foster care crisis in the state of Texas by providing "reasonable accommodations" for participants.
Of course, while the bill tries to promote religious freedom, it doesn't exactly do that, allowing those of other religions not have the freedom to adopt from those agencies. "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," Catherine Oakley, senior legislative counsel for the Human Rights Campaign told ABC News. "This goes against the best interest of the child."
If passed, this law in Texas would be the only law in the United States protecting faith based adoption organizations and state-funded agencies to deny others from adopting based on their religion. But Texas won't be the first to pass a law like this in 2017. In March, the state of South Dakota signed a bill into law that gave broad legal protections to faith based organizations, preventing the state from taking action against agencies that discriminate against families on the basis of religious belief.
While Texas' law is much more sweeping, the belief is still the same. If passed, faith based organizations have the right to deny single parents, those of different faiths, or LGBTQ couples the right to adopt, and could possibly force children in the foster care system to comply with beliefs that are not their own either.