This is almost too disgusting to believe. But, starting in September, Texas child welfare agencies will be allowed to refuse services to LGBT children and families. Seriously.
This week, Texas Governor Greg Abbot signed a disgusting bill into law. House Bill 3859 gives “protection of the rights of conscience for child welfare services providers.” This law will allow agencies to legally discriminate against and deny services to LGBT children and LGBT parents.
“On Thursday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill that will allow child welfare service providers to decline to provide certain kinds of care based on “the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs.” The bill, House Bill 3859, will permit discrimination against LGBTQ couples wishing to adopt children, in addition to allowing LGBTQ children to be placed under the agencies’ care in “religious education.” The bill goes into effect in September.”
“The bill affects not only child placement services (think adoption agencies), but group homes, counseling services, care for abused children, and other resources for children with complicated family situations. The bill will have a broad reach, affecting organizations that provide a wide variety care options for a large number of children.”
That means that a provider’s religious beliefs can be the legal basis to refuse to help children because of their gender identity or sexuality. Agencies will also be allowed to deny services because of the gender identity or sexuality of any family member. It will also apply to gay parents trying to adopt a child. And all of this in the name of “religious freedom.”
Beyond discriminating against LGBT children and families, this new law could also be used to discriminate against other religions. It gives license to a Christian organization to deny services to Muslims, for example.
The only limit in this bill is for racial discrimination.
Organizations who refuse service must only provide a referral to another agency and a link to “the web page on the department’s Internet website that includes a list of other licensed child welfare services providers.”
As if this law weren’t bad enough, it also allows providers to put LGBT children into “religious education” programs. Even if the program is based on a religion that the child does not belong to. The same applies to religious minorities. This law “allows child welfare organizations to place children who are members of religious minorities (Jewish or Muslim children, for example) into Christian schools.”
Following the passage of this horrific law, the president of GLAAD put out a statement.
“Lawmakers used religion as a weapon to pass a bill that not only harms qualified candidates who want to start families, but children. 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.”