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. 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.
In a longer statement, Fallin insists SB 1140 will not restrict LGBT individuals or couples from adopting or fostering. While that may be technically true, it would allow agencies to reject couples "in accordance with their beliefs" ― that is, because those couples are in the LGBTQ community.
"While we are deeply disappointed that Governor Fallin chose to sign discrimination into law, we are more concerned about the children-desperately looking for homes-that will be harmed by this disgraceful legislation", Stevenson said in a statement. "This measure serves no legitimate policy objective".
"Oklahoma has now joined a small group of states that have broken the cardinal rule of child welfare-that the needs of children should come first", said Family Equality Council CEO Stan Sloan in a press release. At the time, some lawmakers expected Fallin to pass the legislation, while the bill's author, Republican Sen.
While most people would think this is an argument in favor of maximizing the number of available parents to take children in, supporters say that religious agencies will take their ball and go home instead of placing kids in decent homes that violate the agencies' "sincerely held religious beliefs". Josh Stickney, Administrative Associate at Equality Federation, is an adoptee & has lived in Oklahoma his entire life stated, "I'm extremely disappointed that our state has made a decision to fund discrimination in our foster care & adoption agencies".
Catholic groups which have supported the legislation agreed it would actually help children by expanding the options for placement in the state. "Rather than focusing on empowering families or uniting children with loving parents, Governor Fallin and Oklahoma Republicans want to strip qualified potential parents of their ability to provide for a child in need", DNC LGBTQ Media Director Lucas Acosta said.
Kansas's governor has a similar anti-LGBTQ adoption bill waiting on his desk. "Make no mistake, we will fight for the most vulnerable Oklahomans targeted by this law and, if necessary, we will do so in a court of law".
He believes the new law is "a clear violation of the establishment and equal protection clauses of the U. S. Constitution". It handed the state's Senate on Might 2 in a 33-9 vote. Our message to Governor Fallin, and the lawmakers who championed this travesty is simple: "we'll see you in court!"