#Adoption

Kansas Governor Signs Anti-LGBT Adoption Bill Into State Law

On Friday, Kansas governor Jeff Colyer signed a bill into state law legalizing discrimination against LGBT persons looking to adopt. This news comes just one week after Oklahoma’s governor Mary Fallin signed a similar bill.

Senate Bill 284 enables adoption agencies in Kansas, even those which receive taxpayer funds, to deny children placement into homes with LGBT parents over “religious objections.”

Both houses of the legislature approved the bill this month. 

It’s worth mentioning that technically the law could also permit these agencies to subject LGBT children in foster care to conversion therapy.

According to The Wichita Eagle, Colyer said: “What I want Kansans to know is this is about fairness and that we are protecting everyone. It’s not about discrimination; it’s about fairness. We’re looking after those kids that need a forever home.”

JoDee Winterhof, senior VP of Policy and Political Affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, condemned the bill in a press release: “Kansas now joins Oklahoma as the only states to allow anti-LGBTQ state bills to become law this year. Kansas lawmakers, from the legislature to the governor, are clearly stating that it is more important to them to discriminate against their own constituents than it is to find loving homes for children in need. Make no mistake: this law will harm the kids, families and reputation of this state.” 

Kansas is the ninth state to enact an adoption law permitting agencies to deny placement into homes over religious objections; the others are Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and Oklahoma.

The new adoption law isn’t the only current anti-LGBT law in Kansas. In 2016, former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill allowing student organization’s at public universities in the state to deny membership to LGBT students. Brownback is now United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom under the Trump Administration.

Earlier this week, Colyer and six other Republican governors signed a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee saying president Trump should get the Nobel Peace Prize for “his transformative efforts to bring peace to the Korean peninsula."

h/t: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/05/18/kansas-governor-signs-anti-lgbt-religious-freedom-adoption-law/

Oklahoma's Governor Signs First Anti-LGBTQ Law Of 2018

America - 2018 was doing pretty well when it comes to new legislation and the LGBTQ community. No new state bills attacking the community had been signed into law this year.

Until now.

In Oklahoma, Gov. Mary Fallin has put her signature on Senate Bill 1140 which effectively legalizes LGBTQ discrimination by faith-based adoption and foster care agencies which receive public funds.

This is the first new anti-LGBTQ law in the United States in 2018. What a dubious achievement.

The new law makes it legal to deny placing children in LGBTQ homes based on “religious objections.” Simply declaring a religious or moral opposition to same-sex marriage would allow a faith-based agency the legal right to refuse to place a child in same-sex homes.

The legislation could also withhold child placement with single or divorced people if their social status were to offend an adoption agency’s religious beliefs.

LGBTQ advocates quickly criticized the new law.

“It is shameful that Gov. Mary Fallin has signed into law a patently discriminatory law that targets children,” said JoDee Winterhof, Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs at the Human Rights Campaign. “Gov. Fallin has cemented her legacy, siding with discrimination and the legislature in throwing kids under the bus to create a ‘license to discriminate’ against LGBTQ Oklahomans.”

And Troy Stevenson, Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma, issued a statement which read, in part: “While we are deeply disappointed that Governor Fallin choose to sign discrimination into law, we are more concerned about the children – desperately looking for homes – that will be harmed by this disgraceful legislation.”

“Our message to Governor Fallin, and the lawmakers who championed this travesty is simple: we’ll see you in court!” added Stevenson.

Supporters of the new law say these faith-based agencies will have to shut their doors if forced to place children into LGBT homes.

Currently, five states - Mississippi, Michigan, Virginia, Texas, Alabama, South Dakota and North Dakota — have similar laws on the books, although Michigan’s law is being challenged in the federal courts thanks to the ACLU.

Kansas’s governor has a similar anti-LGBTQ adoption bill waiting on his desk.

Couple Devastated After Being Rejected By Foster Agency Because They're Gay

As gay marriage is now legal across all 50 states of America, it seems that the next issue that LGBTQ couples are fighting for is the right to parent.

We’ve already talked about the growing struggle between right wing politicians, LGBTQ couples, and adoption agencies in Georgia (with tv/movie creatives also getting involved), and now it seems a similar struggle is surfacing in Pennsylvania.

The trouble started when a lesbian couple went to an orientation meeting for a foster/adoption agency. Magan Paszko and her wife drove to Elkins Park in Philadelphia to participate, but were quickly told that they weren’t welcome.

“The trainer approached us, and she was really nice, but she told us, ‘I just want to be upfront. This organization has never placed a child with a same-sex couple,” Paszko told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “She told us she didn’t want to waste two hours of our time.”

It seems that Bethany Christian Services, the agency Paszko and her wife were applying to, and another agency called Catholic Social Services have a strict policy of rejecting LGBTQ parents.

While the Bethany Christian Services was “polite” in its rejection and gave the names of other agencies, their act does nothing but harm Philadelphia children desperately in need of a home.

Philadelphia is currently seeking out more people to become foster parents, yet Christian organizations like Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Social Services are rejecting LGBTQ people who want nothing more than to help.

Outside of talk of discrimination and going against the needs of children, this act is also against government policy.

 

 

As Mary Catherine Roper, the deputy legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, told the Inquirer:

 “A government doesn’t get to use a contractor to implement religious programs and when you start saying, ‘We’re running this as a religious program such that we won’t take you because you don’t fit our religious view,’ then the city is paying for a religious program, and that’s a problem under the First Amendment.”

On top of that, Bethany Christian Services collected $1.3 million from the government last year for operating foster homes covering 170 children. Thus, the government is financially backing this organization that’s used religion as its focus for the past 75 years.

On top of this, there seems to also be a layer of hypocrisy in Bethany’s actions.

Due to Pennsylvania’s state code, LGBTQ children can’t be discriminated against by foster/adoption agencies. This has led to Christian organizations like Bethany working with LGBTQ youth while later rejecting LGBTQ adults.

In response to all this, Currey Cook, the head of Lambda Legal’s Youth in Out-of-home Care Project, said:

“How do you pretend you can simultaneously say we serve all youth and do a good job serving all youth while at the same time you’re saying same-sex couples are not real parents, are not good parents?” Cook said. “LGBT youth who have faced so much isolation, stigma, prejudice in the system are left wondering, ‘What’s going to happen if I come out, and I’m being served by parents or an agency that basically says trans parents, LGBT people, aren’t good parents?'”

As the Inquirer reports, Paszko and her wife are now in the process of becoming foster parents with the help of Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia, but they can't help feeling distraught by the earlier rejection.

h/t: The Philadelphia Inquirer

TV Show Producers Threaten To Boycott If Georgia Passes Its Anti-Gay Adoption Bill

TV makers are taking a stand against a ridiculous religious freedom bill.

As we reported a couple days ago, some politicians within the American state of Georgia are trying to pass a religious freedom bill. If passed, State Senate Bill 375, or the “Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act,” would let adoption agencies use their religious beliefs as an excuse to reject gay couples looking to adopt.

The official reasoning for this bill is that it's to protect adoption agencies from being discriminated and persecuted for not approving of gay couples and gay parents.

That said, many have pointed out that no such problems have been reported by adoption agencies. As such, the bill is just an excuse to open a window for discriminating against gay people, and making adoption harder for them.

Despite those protests in the State Senate, the bill ultimately passed on a vote of 35-19. Now, its on its way to the State House of Representatives.

In the meantime, showrunners and producers of popular tv shows are saying they might pull their show productions from the state as a result.

Atlanta, Georgia has become a major spot for Hollywood productions. Not only do multiple tv shows like Queer Eye, The Walking Dead, and Black Lightening, film there, but major movies like Black Panther film there as well.

Due to this, Georgia makes about $7 billion a year from productions and filming. But, all that could come crumbling down thanks to Bill 375 and the words of Ben Wexler.

Ben Wexler is a producer who’s worked on shows like The Grinder, Community, The Michael J. Fox Show, and Arrested Development.

After hearing about Georgia State Senate Bill 375, Wexler tweeted out the following, “To my fellow showrunners: if this dumb bill becomes law, let’s be done filming television shows in Georgia.”

Soon, other tv executives/creatives like Difficult People creator Julie Klausner, Difficult People star Billy Eichner, Starz’s Spartacus creator Steven DeKinght, and When We Rise creator Dustin Lance Black were agreeing with Wexler.

 

In addition, many have asked the creators of the Walking Dead, which is probably the biggest tv show filmed in Georgia, and Marvel Studios to share their thoughts on the situation.

Meanwhile, many LGBTQ advocates are expressing how unjust Bill 375 really is. For instance, Marty Rouse, who’s the national field director for the Human Rights Campaign, said:

“Plain and simple – SB 375 is discrimination dressed up as a ‘solution’ to a fake problem.”

“It creates an unnecessary hardship for potential LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents in Georgia and primarily harms the children looking for a loving home.”