Opponents are going all-in to stop a measure allowing private agencies in Oklahoma to deny placements.
Senate Bill 1140 would let private agencies receiving state funding refuse to participate in foster care or adoption placements based on their written religious or moral convictions. Freedom Oklahoma is launching a statewide campaign against the bill with ACLU Oklahoma as a partner. Executive Director Troy Stevenson said states with similar laws have seen a drop off in adoptions.
"We’ve got 9,000 young people in the system who are looking for loving homes, and to allow state-funded agencies to discriminate is just unacceptable," Stevenson said.
Kris Williams said she and her partner want the same things for their adopted 11-year-old son heterosexual couples want for their kids.
"I want my child to feel loved and supported, to have access to education in a healthy community in order to succeed and contribute to providing these things to others," Williams said. "Studies have shown that LGBTQ families raise children who are as healthy and as happy as children from non-LGBT homes."
The Rev. Lori Walke of Mayflower Congregational Church of Christ said the bill could lead to many potential parents being turned away.
"People who have been previously divorced, interfaith couples, LGBTQ persons and couples, and interracial couples are just a few examples of the people that could be prevented from providing safe and loving homes in the name of religious freedom," Walke said.
Catholic and Baptist groups say such a law would lead to more faith-based child placement agencies because they would no longer fear being sued.