OK House Passes Bill Protecting Faith-Based Adoption Agencies’ Religious Liberty

S.B. 1140 allows adoption agencies to operate according to their statements of faith. It will now go to the governor for signature.

By Nancy Flory Published on April 27, 2018

The Oklahoma House of Representatives on.Thursday passed a bill that will protect the religious freedoms of faith-based adoption agencies.

S.B. 1140 allows faith-based adoption agencies to turn down couples if the agency believes it would violate its religious or moral convictions by allowing the couple to adopt. S.B. 1140 states that “no private child-placing agency shall be required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.” The bill passed 60-25.

The Oklahoma Senate passed the bill last month. It now goes to Governor Mary Fallin for her signature.

LGBTQ groups aren’t happy. GLAAD’s vice president Zeke Stokes had harsh words to say about S.B. 1140. “This bill is heartless and un-American. No qualified parent should be turned away from adoption or foster agencies simply because they are LGBTQ.”

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Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention wrote in a letter to lawmakers that the bill was about protecting the “religious liberty of those serving vulnerable children.”

“Faith-based adoption and foster care agencies ought not have to choose between providing children with loving families and following their sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage and family,” he wrote. “Forcing adoption and foster care providers to compromise their sincerely held beliefs in order to serve children is unconscionable.”

The bill will not keep same-sex couples or others from adopting, but it will keep the government from forcing faith-based adoption organizations from acting “against their consciences and statements of faith.”

Other states have passed similar laws to protect the religious freedom of faith-based adoption agencies. Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia protect the rights of faith-based adoption agencies to operate according to their faith.

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