Jane-Ashley McMillan, Attorney at Law

Texas bill restricts LGBT adoption

In June of 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbot, signed House Bill 3859, also called the “Freedom to Serve Children Act.” This bill allows religious groups to deny services to families “under circumstances that conflict with the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs.”

This is was the second bill of its kind signed into law in the United States. What does it mean for Texas residents?

What does the bill entail?

The bill dictates that state-funded adoption agencies will be legally allowed to reject families from adopting children based on religion.

This then means that the state government cannot penalize adoption agencies from rejecting families based on religious grounds. Such agencies are now protected from state action, such as revocation of funding, against them if they cite religious reasons for denying service to a family.

Consequences for LGBT parents

Unfortunately, this is bad news for LGBT parents looking to start families. Texas is home to many Christian adoption agencies, many of which will only accept heterosexual, Christian couples for potential adoption.

This would restrict the types of adoption agencies LGBT parents are able to use.

However, under state law Texas is still required to present other options for families who cannot adopt from religious-affiliated state-funded adoption agencies. This means that LGBT families should have other opportunities to adopt, even though their options are now restricted.

This new law certainly gives LGBT families new obstacles. While it is still possible to adopt in Texas as an LGBT couple, it will certainly be more difficult. LGBT families will now have to be more creative in seeking adoption.

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