Over the last two months, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed two bills that will egregiously affect the lives of LGBTQ children and adults in the state of Texas. These two bills are just the tip of the iceberg. According to LGBT advocates, as many as 25 to 30 anti-LGBT bills have been proposed in the Texas legislature.
Most recently, the Republican governor signed House Bill 3859, which makes it legal to refuse adoptive rights to qualified Texans based on their sexual or gender identity, their faith or marital status—i.e., not only are single parents at risk, but so are married couples where either partner was previously divorced. The bill would allow adoption agencies to tout religious objection to deny placement to any prospective parent. It also allows welfare agencies to refuse to provide certain kinds of care to a child based on the provider’s religious beliefs. In essence, it sanctions discrimination against LGBTQ couples who hope to adopt. Further, it gives child placement agencies that are beneficiaries of taxpayer money the power to claim “religious objections to certain groups of people—effectively giving them a license to deny adoption and fostering opportunities to LGBTQ, single, or non-Christian parents.”
The bill has wide-ranging effects on not only child placement services (adoption agencies), but group homes, counseling services, care for abused children, and other resources for children with complicated family situations, according to Think Progress.
The Human Rights Campaign “strongly condemned” Governor Abbott for this bill. “After a legislative session full of attacks on LGBTQ Texans, today, Gov. Abbott has codified anti-LGBTQ discrimination into law by signing HB 3859,” said Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign and a foster and adoptive parent.
HRC’s own research has found that that LGBTQ youth are “overrepresented in the foster care system,” because their own families have rejected many of them due to their LGBTQ status. They are “especially vulnerable to discrimination and mistreatment while in foster care.” HRC asserts that HB 3859 will only heighten the hurdles already faced by these LGBTQ youth.
The bill could also allow LGTBQ youth to be placed with foster parents whose religious beliefs teach discrimination against LGBTQ individuals, subjecting them to potential criticism, discrimination and so-called “conversion therapy” which has been shown to wreak deep psychological damage to the child.
And if these steps aren’t draconian enough, non-LGBTQ religious youth may also feel the impact of the bill. Under its terms, child welfare organizations would be permitted to place
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