Monday, May 07, 2018

Kansas, Oklahoma Pass Bills Protecting Religious Beliefs of Adoption Agencies

As reported by AP, last week both the Kansas an the Oklahoma legislatures  approved bills allowing faith-based social service agencies to provide adoption services consistent with their religious beliefs. Wichita Eagle had this report on Kansas SB 284 (legislative history) (full text):
A bill that ensures faith-based adoption agencies can turn away gay and lesbian couples based on religious beliefs will be signed into law by Gov. Jeff Colyer....
The Senate approved the bill 24-15 at 1:51 a.m. Friday after the House passed it Thursday night, 63-58. The bill had been dormant for weeks before lawmakers revived and passed it in a matter of hours....
The bill doesn’t apply to organizations that contract directly with DCF [Kansas Department of Chidren and Families], allowing DCF to prohibit discrimination in placements. Agencies that refuse to place children with LGBT couples can continue to receive reimbursement from the state if they are making placements on behalf of a DCF contractor.
The Oklahoma bill, SB 1140 (legislative history) (full text) covers both adoption and foster care placement by agencies that act in accordance with their "written religious or moral convictions or policies." However agencies may not refuse any services for children in custody of the state Department of Human Services.  Gov.Mary Fallin has not said whether she will sign the bill. 

UPDATE: On May 11, Gov. Fallin signed SB 1140, but also ordered the  Department of Human Services to publish a list of Oklahoma adoption and foster agencies on its website who are willing to serve everyone who meets the Department's criteria for being a foster or adoptive parent. (Press release from Governor's office.)