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Trend Watch – Five States Seek To Provide Faith-Based Adoption Protections To Date

According to this article, the count is up to five.  Five states now provide or are moving forward to providing for faith-based religious protections for adoption agencies which place a child’s needs and best interest below the religiously held beliefs of the adoption agency.  Essentially allowing an adoption agency to ignore a child’s best interests over religiously held beliefs.

The five states are:  Alabama (passed on May 3, 2017), South Dakota (passed in March 2017), Virginia (passed in 2012), Texas (pending legislation), and Oklahoma (pending legislation).

Georgia was moving in this direction, but the bill died when the legislature adjourned without acting on it in March 2017. 

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Texas – Faith-Based Adoption Agency’s Religious Beliefs Trump Child’s Best Interest

According to this article, a bill in the Texas House just passed permitting faith-based adoption agencies to reject adoptive parents based on the agencies religiously held beliefs.   It has been argued that the rejections may include gay, divorced, non-Christian, Jewish, etc. 

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Proposed Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act — Bishops Support Agency Gay Adoption Discrimination

According to this article, three chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committees signed a letter to Pennsylvania Representative Mike Kelly on April 10, 2017 voicing their support for the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act which would allow U.S. adoption agencies to legally exclude same-sex couples from consideration for adoption based on their “sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions.”  The Bishops support carving out a religious exception to state anti-discrimination laws that would allow religious adoption agencies to continue to receive state dollars.

The three chairs are:  (1) The chairman of the US Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; (2) the chair of the bishops’ Subcommittee for Defense and Promotion of Marriage; and (3) the Chairman of the Bishops Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

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San Francisco — City Employees Banned From Official Travel to South Dakota In Response to Anti-Gay Adoption Legislation

Here’s an article with audio recording where the Governor of South Dakota tries to explain why he feels the bill he signed allowing adoption agencies to discriminate is not anti-gay adoption in an attempt to convince states not to enact travel bans on South Dakota.  The article also mentions that the State of California may soon follow San Francisco by banning all official State of California business travel to South Dakota.

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Florida – Recognition of Same-Sex Widow Prior to US Supreme Court Case Does Not Require Judicial Intervention

According to this article, a Federal Judge just ruled that the State of Florida improperly required widows and widowers in same-sex marriages to petition the Court for recognition on the death certificate if their spouse died prior to the date of the US Supreme Court decision declaring state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.  

While this does not directly relate to same-sex adoption, it is significant in showing some challenges that the State of Florida continues to seek to place on same-sex couples.    

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Georgia — Governor Opposes Adoption Agency Discrimination Bill

According to this article, the Georgia Republican governor, Nathan Deal, has stated that he opposes the addition of a religious liberty provision in an otherwise “good” adoption bill.  Governor Deal vetoed a religious liberty provision last year.  

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Georgia — Religious Discrimination Bill Advances in Senate for Adoption Agencies

According to this article, the Georgia Senate advanced a bill allowing private adoption agencies who receive state funds to discriminate against families based on religious beliefs 

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Alabama — Considering Legal Discrimination Loophole to “Protect” Adoption Agencies

According to this article, Alabama is considering joining four other states – South Dakota, Michigan, North Dakota, and Virginia – in passing a law establishing legal protections for adoption agencies to discriminate against families based on their religious beliefs.

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Virginia -> Concerns Raised Over Ten-Year Wait For Ex-Felons To Adopt

According to this article, a person convicted of a felony must wait ten years to adopt in Virginia; however,  other states near Virginia only require a five-year waiting period after a felony conviction to adopt.  

The article questions whether a set waiting period is really in a child’s best interest and suggests a solution of permitting Judges to make determinations on a case-by-case basis.

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Kentucky -> Adoption Task Force Set Up to Improve Adoption Processing Times

According to this article, a Kentucky state lawmaker seeks to improve the processing paperwork, time, and costs involved in an adoption by creating a task force focused on making the process easier for adoptive parents. 

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