Governor gives go-ahead to legalize discrimination
WASHINGTON – Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin today signed SB 1140 into law, codifying discrimination against legally married same-sex couples and others looking to adopt, and imperiling the well-being of youth in the state’s child welfare system. The new law will permit taxpayer funded adoption agencies to turn away same-sex couples, LGBTQ individuals, and others, and is the first major piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation signed into law during the 2018 legislative session. A similar bill is sitting on Governor Jeff Colyer’s desk in Kansas.
“Today is a sad day for Oklahomans,” said Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans. “Instead of looking out for the well-being of all Oklahomans, Governor Fallin decided to discriminate against parents and families who are ready to open their homes and their hearts to children in the child welfare system. The Oklahoma legislature has played politics with their state’s most vulnerable kids.”
In a strong show of opposition, more than 15,000 Oklahomans sent letters to their lawmakers urging them to reject the bill. Oklahoma was an outlier in the 2018 legislative session – only one other state, neighboring Kansas, considered a similar anti- LGBTQ 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. Three of those bills just passed last year.
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,” added Davis. “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.”
Immediately following Governor Fallin’s signature, Freedom Oklahoma vowed to challenge the discriminatory law in court.
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