While protecting discriminatory agencies from lawsuits
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It’s common practice for state-funded adoption centers in Texas to reject potential adopters for religious reasons. Just ask any LGBTQ, non-Christian, or single parent and they’ll tell you how difficult it is to get approved. Texas legislators took this discriminatory practice one step further on Tuesday night by pushing a law through the state House that intends to prevent victims of discrimination from suing such organizations.
Naturally, Republicans have a stronghold in the Texas House, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that representatives moved to approve the “Freedom to Serve Children Act” in a vote of 94 to 51. Introduced by state-supported, private organizations seeking legal protection from distraught adoptive and foster parents, the measure will now head to the state Senate, PBS reports.
Though this isn’t the first time American lawmakers approved a bill that prevents non-Christian families from adopting. In March, South Dakotans passed similar legislation, the consequences of which are too early to tell. Supporters of the Texan bill say adoption agencies reserve the right to screen potential parents as they see fit, while other sponsors of the measure hope protecting agencies from legal battles will improve retention rates for state-funded organizations.
National Adoption Council public policy vice president Megan Lestino told PBS it isn’t illegal for faith-based agencies to discriminate, so long as there are other opportunities for non-Christians to adopt. Only, in deep red states, those alternative options are far and few between. And when taxpayer dollars are involved, it’s hard to see how this is anything other than local government-condoned discrimination.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there were roughly 428,000 American children in foster care in 2015, and based on statistics reported in the last five years, those numbers continue to grow each year. Limiting adoptions to Christians only exacerbates a growing problem, especially when religious preference is an arbitrary measure for deciding who’s fit to parent.