In a blow for the LGBTQ community in the American state of Oklahoma, a new anti-gay adoption bill has been signed into law.
Last week, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin approved the legislation that will allow child welfare organisations – including adoption and foster care agencies – to turn away LGBTQ couples.
The law, will also allow these agencies to reject qualified potential parents on the basis of religious beliefs, including interfaith couples, single parents, and married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced.
“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 (HRC).
“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. With this action, Oklahoma has the negative distinction of being the only state to sign an anti-LGBTQ bill into law this year. Oklahoma’s leaders must live with that, and live with the reputational fallout that it may bring. This is wrong.”
Many of the country’s top child welfare organisations have spoken out against the law. They argue that it most harms children in the system who are awaiting placement in qualified, loving homes and are denied placement with a family.
Statistics suggest that an estimated two million LGBTQ adults in the US are interested in adoption, but the LGBTQ community often remains an untapped resource when it comes to finding families for children and youth in foster care, said HRC.
Troy Stevenson, Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma, expressed his concern about “the countless young people who will be stigmatised by state sanctioned hate.”
He vowed to challenge the anti-gay adoption law in court. “Make no mistake, we will fight for the most vulnerable Oklahomans targeted by this law. Our message to Governor Fallin, and the lawmakers who championed this travesty is simple: we’ll see you in court!” said Stevenson.