The Texas Senate on Sunday approved a
bill that seeks to allow state-funded or private adoption agencies to
reject gay parents based on their religious objections.
According to The Texas Tribune,
the bill (House Bill 3859) advanced on a 21-10 vote. The House
approved the measure earlier this month.
Similar laws have been passed in five
other states, but Texas' proposal, modeled after a South Dakota law,
would extend to state-funded agencies.
Opponents say the bill would also allow
faith-based adoption agencies to reject applicants based on religious
affiliation or marital status.
The bill's sponsor, Senator Charles
Perry, a Republican from Lubbock, told colleagues that his proposal
is “not meant to discriminate” against anyone and repeatedly told
Democrats that it would put the child's needs first.
The approval came on the same day that
the House gave preliminary approval to a bill that prohibits
transgender students from using the bathroom of their choice in
House advances transgender “bathroom bill.”)
The American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) criticized lawmakers' priorities.
“Our lawmakers seem determined to
make discrimination Texas' chief export,” Rebecca L. Robertson,
legal and policy director for the ACLU of Texas, said in a statement.
“The Texas legislature is cynically advancing an aggressive agenda
of discriminatory legislation for political gain. The so-called
bathroom amendment approved by the House last night is billed as a
compromise, but there can be no compromise on discrimination.
Transgender children aren’t bargaining chips for lawmakers to
trade, and their safety and dignity are non-negotiable.”