Although public support for adoptions by same-sex couples has increased at a faster pace than same-sex marriage, anxiety by social conservatives and faith-based adoption agencies also has risen as the U.S. Supreme Court comes closer to ruling on whether gay marriage is a constitutional right. Faith-based adoption agencies in other states have shut down rather than place children with same-sex couples. That anxiety will play out in the Texas House today as state Representative Scott Sanford plans offers an religious freedom amendment to a family services bill to allow adoption agencies to discriminate based on religious beliefs.
Sanford had introduced HB 3864 to allow faith-based organizations to opt-out of adopting or fostering children with same-sex couples. The bill never made it any farther than the calendars committee. A similar bill by Senator Donna Campbell, SB 1935, never even received a public hearing in the Health & Human Services Committee.
But Sanford just last week won House approval of a bill to protect clergy from lawsuits if they refuse to perform same-sex marriages. The vote was 142-0. That was different, though, because it dealt more with a fear than a reality. In this case, the reality is faith-based adoption agencies may shut down unless they are allowed to continue to discriminate against same-sex couples on religious grounds.