Lawmakers in Kansas on Friday approved
a bill that would allow faith-based adoption and foster care agencies
to refuse to place children with gay and lesbian couples, and
Republican Governor Jeff Colyer has said he'll sign the bill into
The Republican-controlled Legislature
approved SB 284 by a vote of 24-16 in the Senate and 63-58 in the
House, which had rejected the bill in March.
The bill would force the Kansas
Department for Children and Families to include foster and adoption
agencies, including those that receive public funds, in its programs
even if they refuse to place children with gay people.
Colyer said in a statement that he
looks forward to signing the measure.
“Catholic Charities and other
adoption agencies are key to the fabric of our communities,” Colyer
said. “I look forward to signing this bill because it
increases the opportunities for needy children to find loving homes.”
Supporters of such bills argue that
protecting religiously affiliated agencies would increase the number
of child placements.
Gina Meier-Hummel, who leads the Kansas
Department for Children and Families, previously indicated her
support for the measure and promised that her agency will not
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, called the bill a “license
“To be clear: SB 284 is a ‘license
to discriminate’ that targets youth, first and foremost,” said
JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of policy and political
affairs at HRC. “This insidious bill will make it harder for kids
to find qualified loving homes and it could be used to discriminate
against LGBTQ Kansans. Business leaders, child welfare advocates,
faith leaders and ordinary Kansans have all spoken out against this
bill because they understand that needless, discriminatory bills only
serve to harm Kansans and the reputation of the Sunflower State.”
Opponents of the bill have promised to
mount a legal challenge.
similar bill was approved Thursday by lawmakers in Oklahoma.
Republican Governor Mary Fallin has not said whether she will sign