Source: Associated Press
By MEREDITH HOFFMAN
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Many state-funded Texas adoption and foster care agencies routinely deny non-Christian, gay, and unmarried applicants on religious grounds — and legislation that got initial approval in the state House on Tuesday is designed to protect them from potential lawsuits from doing so.
The private organizations, which are paid by the state to place foster children with adoptive families, want to continue the practice and are seeking legal protections through Texas’ “Freedom to Serve Children Act,” which the GOP-controlled chamber approved 94-51 late Tuesday night.
A final vote will be needed Wednesday to send the measure to the state Senate, which is even more conservative.
The bill would be the nation’s second allowing state-funded adoption agencies to reject families on religious grounds. South Dakota passed similar legislation in March but it’s too soon to measure its practical effects. While the Texas proposal may not pass constitutional muster, that hasn’t stopped the state’s lawmakers before, who have in recent years approved a voter ID law and abortion restrictions that were overturned in court.