State Rep. Linda Koop, who is Jewish, voted Tuesday, May 9, for HB 3859, an antisemitic bill that will fund religious adoption agencies while giving the right to refuse service to Jews, Muslims and LGBT people among others.
Fellow Dallas Republican Jason Villalba voted against the bill.
Koop, who was a reliable vote for the LGBT community when she sat on the Dallas City Council, has turned on the LGBT community and, apparently the Jewish community, since her election to the legislature.
Parents seeking to adopt children in Texas could soon be rejected by state-funded or private agencies with religious objections to them being Jewish, Muslim, gay, single, or interfaith couples, under a proposal in the Republican-controlled Legislature, Associated Press reported.
HB 3859 would allow religious-based adoption and foster agencies that contract with the state to discriminate in two ways. Agencies would be able to discriminate against qualified prospective parents including LGBT couples, interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced and Jewish or Muslim parents. The bill would also allow those agencies to refuse to place LGBT kids.
According to research done by the Williams Institute, LGBT youth are over-represented in the foster care system. This means that the percentage of youth in foster care who are LGBTQ-identified is larger than the percentage of LGBTQ youth in the general youth population, according to Human Rights Campaign.
Child welfare organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the Child Welfare League of America, the National Association of School Psychologists and the National Education Association have condemned similar bills.
“Say you call an agency and say, ‘I’m Jewish,’ and it’s a Catholic agency and they hang up on you,” Suzanne Bryant, an Austin-based attorney who specializes in LGBT adoptions, told the Houston Chronicle. “The bill says you can be referred to another agency, but there’s no mechanism to set that up.”
“Requiring taxpayers to fund discrimination is not only grossly unfair, but will violate federal law in instances where a child placement is denied on the basis of a prospective adoptive or foster parent’s religion, race, or national origin,” Anti-Defamation League Regional Director Cheryl Drazin said. “The number of children without families far exceeds the number of able and loving homes. The only consideration for a child welfare agency must be the best interests of the child — not denying a placement simply because of a prospective parent’s religion, race, sexual orientation or other personal characteristic.”
Texas has about 70,000 kids at any one time who need homes.