Discriminatory Bill HB 3859 Passed in Texas

Children

Texas: Texas lawmakers proposed a bill that would allow adoption agencies to turn away potential parents they find objectionable on religious grounds. Many oppose the new law because it makes it easier for faith-based agencies to discriminate against potential parents who are gay, single or of a religion that members of the adoption agency find objectionable. The bill prohibits discrimination “on the basis of that person’s race, ethnicity, or national origin.”

Another problem about House Bill 3859 is that Christian foster parents would be able to put children under their care in private religious schools, to refuse contraception to those kids or abortion if needed. "HB 3859 would allow child welfare service providers that contract with the state to use taxpayer money to discriminate against LGBT individuals and families in foster care, adoption and other services," American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas said in a statement on its website.

According to Human Rights Campaign, this bill would allow an agency responsible for caring for LGBTQ youth to refer that child to a provider of the abusive, discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy,” if that was consistent with the agency’s religious beliefs without the state being able to intervene, cancel the contract, or withdraw support in other ways.

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The bill's author, Rep. James Frank, argues that without legal protection, the faith-based organizations may shut down child welfare services entirely and thereby worsen the "critical shortage of foster homes" in Texas. “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 told defending the law. "They're free to do that and should be free to do that."

The vote on the bill was originally planned for Saturday but has been rescheduled and Texas House lawmakers voted early Wednesday morning to approve the bill. The legislation passed by a 94–51 vote after several hours of debate. This law is harmful in both directions - both for children who need foster parents and for possible parents.

Photo Credits: Gay The Straight Away

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