Ignoring threats from gay rights advocates, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday signed into law a bill giving religious adoption and foster care agencies protection from state penalties and litigation over their Biblical convictions about marriage.
Like similar measures in seven other states, Oklahoma’s law maintains the status quo between state and private agencies caring for children in the state’s foster care system. Contrary to deceptive propaganda from LGBT advocates and local newspapers, the law does not prohibit same-sex couples from adopting and fostering children and does not leave children languishing in state custody.
A diverse pool of child welfare agencies provides birth mothers and foster and adoptive parents with more options, Fallin noted. “Other states that have declined the protection to faith-based agencies have seen these agencies close their doors, leaving less options for successful placement of children who need loving parents,” the Republican governor said in a statement.
The law, which goes into effect Nov. 1, prohibits state agencies from penalizing or withholding licenses or contracts from the private child-placement agencies that do not place children with single or same-sex couples. It also provides a legal defense for discrimination lawsuits— which gay rights groups have promised to file.
The Kansas legislature has passed a similar bill, and Gov. Jeff Coyler, a Republican, vowed to sign it. That would bring to eight the number of states with the courage to protect all adoption agencies and the children they serve. —B.P.