Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on May 11 signed into law a bill that gives taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies a green light to use religion to discriminate against prospective parents.
Americans United criticized the legislation, Senate Bill 1140, saying it will probably end up denying children loving homes.
“Religious freedom is a fundamental American value. So is protecting our children. Senate Bill 1140 violates both of these core principles,” said Maggie Garrett, AU’s legislative director. “Religion should never be used as an excuse to discriminate or cause harm to others, but this law gives taxpayer-funded child welfare agencies the authority to do just that.”
Added Garrett, “Kids in care deserve loving, stable homes, and that should be Oklahoma’s first priority. Yet with this law, state-funded agencies could deny children these homes by turning away prospective parents because they’re a same-sex couple, interfaith, previously divorced or the ‘wrong religion.’”
Americans United noted that the law is likely to be challenged in court.
A similar measure was pending in Kansas as this issue of Church & State went to press.