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    Abbott Signs 'Religious Freedom' Law Allowing Even Taxpayer-Funded Adoption Agencies to Refuse Gay Couples

    Mandatory Conversion Therapy for Foster Children, Refusal to Allow Blood Relatives to Adopt All Now Legal

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    Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed into law a wide-sweeping bill that allows adoption agencies and child placement services to refuse same-sex couples, or people of a faith contrary to their own to adopt children. HB 3859 will now actually allow, for example, a state-funded adoption agency to refuse to allow a Jewish family to adopt a child who is a blood relative, or a Catholic agency to refuse to allow a single woman who has children of her own to adopt, all in the name of "religious freedom."

    Ironically, the bill's author, Republican State Rep. James Frank, explains in this video that his bill is necessary because there is a "capacity crisis" – not enough adoption agencies for all the children in need of homes. And he says, "we don't have enough people involved" in the foster care system. It's unclear how reducing the number of eligible parents will resolve that crisis. 

    As NCRM reported in late May when the bill had passed both Houses of the Texas legislature, the text of the bill makes clear its true intent.

    In part, it states adoption agencies (providers) are to be "protected" against discrimination related to the provider’s "sincerely held religious beliefs," the provider's intent to give children a "religious education," the refusal of the provider "to provide, facilitate, or refer a person for abortions, contraceptives, or drugs, devices, or services that are potentially abortion-inducing."

    In other words, a pregnant teen who wants or needs an abortion could be barred from one if it violates the adoption agency's religious beliefs, as could a sexually-active teen be barred from receiving contraception if it violates the adoption agency's religious beliefs.

    The law will now also support adoption agencies and other child service organizations that insist on subjecting LGBTQ children to conversion therapy torture, all in the name of religious freedom – not of the child, but of the organization.

    And, again, citing the organization's or agency's religious beliefs, necessary medical services, like ensuring a proper vaccination schedule, could be deemed a violation of religious freedom, and thus, the child could be denied.

    "Lawmakers used religion as a weapon to pass a bill that not only harms qualified candidates who want to start families, but children,"Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement received by NCRM. "This law was never about the best interests of Texans or of children, but about forwarding a political agenda to codify the permission to discriminate against LGBTQ Texans into state law. Discrimination has won in Texas, and it saddens me that a child can now be denied the chance to live with a deserving family simply because they are LGBTQ."

    To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page.

    Image via Greg Abbott/Twitter

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