America - 2018 was doing pretty well when it comes to new legislation and the LGBTQ community. No new state bills attacking the community had been signed into law this year.
In Oklahoma, Gov. Mary Fallin has put her signature on Senate Bill 1140 which effectively legalizes LGBTQ discrimination by faith-based adoption and foster care agencies which receive public funds.
This is the first new anti-LGBTQ law in the United States in 2018. What a dubious achievement.
The new law makes it legal to deny placing children in LGBTQ homes based on “religious objections.” Simply declaring a religious or moral opposition to same-sex marriage would allow a faith-based agency the legal right to refuse to place a child in same-sex homes.
The legislation could also withhold child placement with single or divorced people if their social status were to offend an adoption agency’s religious beliefs.
LGBTQ advocates quickly criticized the new law.
“It is shameful that Gov. Mary Fallin has signed into law a patently discriminatory law that targets children,” said JoDee Winterhof, Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs at the Human Rights Campaign. “Gov. Fallin has cemented her legacy, siding with discrimination and the legislature in throwing kids under the bus to create a ‘license to discriminate’ against LGBTQ Oklahomans.”
And Troy Stevenson, Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma, issued a statement which read, in part: “While we are deeply disappointed that Governor Fallin choose to sign discrimination into law, we are more concerned about the children – desperately looking for homes – that will be harmed by this disgraceful legislation.”
“Our message to Governor Fallin, and the lawmakers who championed this travesty is simple: we’ll see you in court!” added Stevenson.
Supporters of the new law say these faith-based agencies will have to shut their doors if forced to place children into LGBT homes.
Currently, five states - Mississippi, Michigan, Virginia, Texas, Alabama, South Dakota and North Dakota — have similar laws on the books, although Michigan’s law is being challenged in the federal courts thanks to the ACLU.
Kansas’s governor has a similar anti-LGBTQ adoption bill waiting on his desk.