A controversial bill that seeks to
allow religious child welfare organizations, including adoption and
foster care agencies, to discriminate against same-sex couples has
cleared the Oklahoma House and Senate.
Senate Bill 1140 cleared the Senate
with a 33-7 vote and the House 56-21.
The bill states: “To the extent
allowed by federal law, no private child placing agency shall be
required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer,
or participate in any placement of a child for foster care or
adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s
written religious or moral convictions or policies.”
An amendment added in the House that
would have denied state and federal funding to any child placement
agency that discriminates was later stripped from the final bill.
The bill now heads to the desk of
Republican Governor Mary Fallin.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, called passage “shameful”
and called on Fallin to veto the bill.
“This vote to enshrine discrimination
into law is shameful,” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president
of policy and political affairs at HRC. “Oklahoma’s legislators
are throwing kids under the bus to create a ‘license to
discriminate’ against qualified, loving prospective parents. This
bill does nothing to improve the outcomes for children in care. It
shrinks the pool of prospective parents and is a blatant attempt to
discriminate against LGBTQ Oklahomans. Now, Governor Mary Fallin must
veto this bill and not allow it to harm Oklahoma, its reputation and
the kids who simply want a loving, long-term home.”