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Anti-LGBTQ Laws Passed by Kansas and Oklahoma

June 22nd, 2018


Kansas and Oklahoma recently signed anti-LGBTQ laws that allow adoption and foster care agencies to follow religious beliefs when placing children.

Kansas and Oklahoma recently signed anti-LGBTQ laws that allow adoption and foster care agencies to follow religious beliefs when placing children.

In 2018, numerous anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced throughout the United States, but recently some of these laws became bills. Most noticeably, the states of Kansas and Oklahoma recently signed laws that allow adoption and foster care agencies to follow their religious beliefs when placing children with new families.

The Details of These Laws

In May 2018, both houses of the Kansas legislature approved Senate Bill 284  as a measure. This law allows agencies that refuse to place children with adoptive families to continue receiving reimbursement from the state. This bill creates the Adoption Protection Act, which prohibits the government from taking action against child placement agencies because they deny licenses or authorization, deny participation in any program operated by the Department for Children and Families, deny reimbursement for performing foster care placement, or impose civil fines because agencies act on their religious beliefs.

A week earlier, Oklahoma passed Senate Bill 1140. This Act prohibits private child placement agencies including those that receive state or federal funding from being required to participate in child placement that violates the agency’s religious policies.

Why These Laws Were Created

These anti-LGBTQ laws were designed primarily to prevent agencies from placing children with LGBTQ parents. Agencies, however, are also able to refuse to place children with other potential parents that violate the agency’s perspective on marital status, race, religion, or other characteristics.

Opponents to These Laws

Some people have opposed these laws due to the argument that these laws are not narrow exceptions to nondiscrimination protections but instead a way for adoption agencies to legally discriminate against parents. As a result, some groups like Human Rights Watch who endorse this perspective have begun to argue that Oklahoma and Kansas should repeal these laws.

How the Rest of the United States has Responded

Nine other states have created anti-LGBTQ adoption laws that allow agencies to deny placement into homes due to religious objections. The other states are: Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Oklahoma. Oklahoma and Kansas are also two of the 42 states in the country that lack laws that protect LGBTQ couple who are seeking to either adopt or foster children. This is not the first time that Kansas has passed an anti-LGBTQ law. In 2016, Kansas’s former governor signed into a law a measure that allowed student organizations located at public universities in Kansas to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals.

The Goal of the Universal Life Church’s Blog

This recent development represents just one of the most recent significant changes in the rights of LGBTQ individuals. Before the conclusion of 2018, there are likely to be many more developments in this field. By reading the Universal Life Church’s blog each month, you can remain up to date with the most significant developments in legal issues affecting the LGBTQ community.

(image courtesy of Michal Janek)

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