Texas adoption agencies could soon be allowed to force LGBTI kids in their care into ‘anti-gay therapy’.
The House of Representatives voted 94 to 51 on passing the anti-LGBTI HB 3859 last night (9 May).
Three Democrats – Terry Canales, Rene Oliviera, and Ryan Guillen – voted in favor of the bill.
Now it will go on to the Senate; if they also vote in favor, the bill will go to Governor Greg Abbott for final approval.
The bill is supposed to support the religious freedom adoption agencies and foster care providers, according to its Republican sponsors.
#HB3859 Mr. Frank, why did you draft this bill? I see that you consider yourself a Christian. Is this what Christ wants?
— WWGrootDo? (@minticooki) May 10, 2017
It does so by banning Texas from taking ‘adverse action’ against faith-based organizations turning people away on the basis of ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’.
Although they receive state funds, many agencies are private faith-based companies.
Under HB 3859 they could reject potential parents because they do not ‘fit’ the agency’s religious beliefs.
This means they can not just turn away people belonging to other faith groups, like Muslims or Jews, but also LGBTI parents.
— Chuck Lindell (@chucklindell) May 10, 2017
‘Children are dying in foster care. Thousands need a safe and healthy home,’ said Chuck Smith, head of Equality Texas, in a statement.
‘LGBTQ parents can provide a loving, safe and healthy home for children in need. The passage to engrossment of HB 3859 is another step toward allowing organizations to discriminate using taxpayer money.’
He said the bill was ‘not a true religious accommodation’ because it is too sweeping and the rights were not balanced with Texas’ interest in the welfare of children in its care.
‘In the end, this was not about religious freedom,’ he said.
‘When children are removed from their families because of neglect or abuse, the State has an obligation to place them in homes based on the children’s needs and the prospective family’s ability to meet those needs, not on the religious beliefs of the agency hired by the State to find them homes.’
I'm sure the kids sleeping on floors in CPS offices across the state are grateful you've saved them from having loving gay parents #HB3859
— chellyyb (@chellyyb) May 10, 2017
HB 3859 would also allow agencies to require the kids already in the foster care system to comply with any faith-based requirements.
This means they would be able to send children who come out as LGBTI to conversion therapy to ’turn them straight’.
Also called ‘gay cure therapy’, it is a deeply harmful and potentially deadly practice which has been denounced by all major international health organizations.
It would also allow agencies to refuse young people birth control or abortions.
— Niki Cunningham (@JadedCountessa) May 10, 2017
Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign, called it ‘yet another example of Texas legislators’ coordinated efforts to pursue discrimination against LGBTQ people instead of focusing on the best interest of all Texans’.
‘If signed into law, this bill would most harm the children in Texas’ child welfare system — kids who need a loving, stable home. Discrimination under law is unacceptable,’ Rouse said.
‘The Senate must recognize this bill for what it is: an attempt to discriminate against LGBTQ Texans, this time targeting some of Texas’ most vulnerable residents: children in the child welfare system.’