The 2017 Texas Law, HB 3859, which allows broad discrimination by adoption agencies will undoubtedly harm the thousands of children who have already been abused or neglected by their birth parents and desperately need loving homes.
The law allows agencies to discriminate because of any “sincerely held religious belief.” Private adoption agencies can already set standards for foster/adopt parents based on religious beliefs. For example, Christian Homes and Family Services in Abilene states on it’s website that adopting couples must “be of the Christian faith and both be active members of the same church, where both attend weekly.”
The real problem with the new Texas law is that it extends the right to discriminate to state-funded agencies. Texas will spend thousands of dollars defending an unconstitutional law, which clearly violates the separation of church and state. In the meanwhile, instead growing up in loving homes, many more children will tragically languish in “a system where rape, abuse, psychotropic medication and instability are the norm.” (Stukenberg vs. Abbot, 2015, Corpus Christi US District Court, page 255).
The clear impetus for the new law was to discourage gay and lesbian Texans from even trying to become foster/adoptive parents. While the law may garner conservative votes, it is at the expense of these very vulnerable children. No child should be used as a political pawn.
Perhaps some Texas legislators sincerely believed children would be harmed in gay homes and were well intended – just uninformed. These legislators need to look at the Columbia Law School Research Portal’s review of 79 studies, which were peer reviewed and published in scholarly journals. “Taken together, this research forms an overwhelming scholarly consensus, based on over three decades of peer-reviewed research, that having a gay or lesbian parent does not harm children.” So, what can you do? You can share this information with clergy, friends, family members, – and your Texas legislators. You can also apply to be a foster/adoptive parent. TexasFosterCare1.clickforward.com
— Suzanne Bryant
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 28, 2017.