A bill that would allow state agencies to discriminate in the foster care and adoption process passed the Oklahoma Senate Tuesday and is on its way to the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
Senate Bill 1140 would exempt any private child placing agency from placing a child with a family for foster care or adoption if the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written “religious or moral convictions or policies.”
The measure also prohibits any state or local government from denying a private child-placing agency any grant, contract, or participation in a government program if those agency refuse to place children with LGBT couples.
The proposal was authored by Senator Greg Treat, R-Edmond. The measure targets the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Opponents of the measure said it would continue to keep children out of homes. Troy Stevenson, the executive director for Freedom Oklahoma, an LGBT advocacy group, said he was completely against the bill.
“There are over 9,000 kids without homes in Oklahoma,” Stevenson said. Stevenson said taxpayers’ dollars will be used to pay these agencies who are discriminating.
Records show that more than 350 children on any given day who are waiting for adoptive families and more than 1,000 children in state custody have a goal of adoption.
An Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy fact sheet titled, “At A Glance: Child Welfare in Oklahoma” reported the number of children coming into contact with the child welfare system has been increasing in recent years.
“Oklahoma continues to struggle to address the many issues children encounter far too
often in our state,” the OICA reported.
Stevenson said SB 1140 would ultimately be rejecting qualified foster and adoptive
parents and denying children a safe home with a loving family.