Oklahoma Lawmakers Pass Dangerous Anti-LGBTQ Child Welfare Bill

Advocates call on Gov. Mary Fallin to veto discriminatory bill

Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 3.45.31 PMWASHINGTON – At the eleventh hour, lawmakers in Oklahoma approved a bill that would allow adoption agencies receiving taxpayer funding to discriminate against legally married same-sex couples and LGBTQ youth, among others. The bill, SB 1140, was approved by both the House and Senate chambers and now heads to Governor Mary Fallin’s desk.

Should Governor Fallin sign the bill, SB 1140 will become the first major piece of anti-LGBTQ legisaltion in the nation enacted into law during the 2018 state legislative session. Oklahoma is an outlier in the 2018 legislative session – only one other state, neighboring Kansas, is currently considering a similar anti-LGBTQ bill.

“This dangerous legislation hurts some of the most vulnerable kids in Oklahoma – those who desperately need a loving family,” said Kasey Suffredini, CEO of Freedom for All Americans. “Child welfare agencies should focus on one thing: supporting and advancing the best interests of the youth in their care. This bill will block parents and families who are ready to open their homes and their hearts to children in the child welfare system, and it could even jeopardize the well-being of LGBTQ kids in the state’s care. Shame on Oklahoma lawmakers for playing politics with vulnerable kids in need of safe and loving homes.”

SB 1140 was amended by the House of Representatives to exclude adoption agencies that receive state and federal funding. However, that amendment was removed by a conference committee of lawmakers, ensuring the bill is a potent license to discriminate.

“What happened on the floor of the Oklahoma House and Senate today was a disgrace,” said Troy Stevenson, Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma. “Leadership of both houses forced an unneeded, unwanted, and un-American bill onto the Governor’s desk. This measure does nothing but keep Oklahoma’s most vulnerable youth out of loving and committed homes.  It is our greatest hope that Governor Fallin will show the world that the Oklahoma Standard still exists and that we do not put political posture over the health and safety of Oklahoma’s children,” he said.

Oklahomans are making their opposition to SB 1140 known: already, nearly 15,000 people from across the state have sent letters to lawmakers urging them to stand up for Oklahoma’s youth and reject this dangerous bill. Seven states already have laws on the books that allow child welfare agencies receiving taxpayer funding to discriminate against LGBTQ youth and families – Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia. According to data from the Every Child Deserves a Family campaign, more than 21,000 youth were awaiting adoption in states with these discriminatory laws on the books in 2015.

“We’re seeing these types of anti-LGBTQ child welfare bills pop up with more frequency over the last two years — both in the states and in Congress — and they represent just how far our opponents will go to undermine equality for LGBTQ people and our families,” said Suffredini. “What’s more, these bills demonstrate a blatant disregard for the collateral damage our opponents cause when they target our community. We believe that in the long-run, Americans won’t stand for these types of discriminatory political ploys. But in the meantime, bills like this hurt real families and real kids — we urge Governor Fallin to veto this discriminatory legislation.”

Governor Fallin will have 15 days after sine die to pocket veto the legislation.

@GovMaryFallin

Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 11.53.32 AM@GovMaryFallin PLEASE DON”T SIGN !!!! I am the lesbian mom of two daughters, one adopted.  My child came home at 9 months. She is well nourished with love and life and opportunities…. and came out of our hone bearing her gifts of creativity and accomplishment – now a student at NYU . Governor I urge you to meet with parents and their adopted children – to educate yourself before agreeing to sign this primitive Bill!!!

PLEASE do not hurt the children – we the loving parents of America – should not even be having this discussion. !!! Its just not okay to deprive loving American people and children of their equality just because of the bias of a minority!!! #Oklahoma!!

13537741_10209328713390171_8282725518331626905_nMelanie Nathan
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