Although public support for adoptions by same-sex couples has increased at a faster pace than support for same-sex marriage, anxiety among social conservatives and faith-based adoption agencies also has risen, especially while the U.S. Supreme Court considers 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 to offer a religious freedom amendment to a family services bill. The amendment would 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.
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.
UPDATE: Sanford never offered his amendment Tuesday night because debate on it would have prevented the House from debating a bill on the carrying of handguns on college campuses; however, I’m told conservative lawmakers have found a bill in the Senate to amend with the adoption language. So to fill you in on the issue, please read on in the original story: