Texas Takes Steps to Protect Religious Convictions of Adoption, Foster Care Providers

Rachel del Guidice, The Daily Signal

Texas lawmakers are debating a bill that shows how states can protect faith-based adoption and foster care providers from religious discrimination, proponents of the legislation say.

The Texas House of Representatives voted 93-49 Wednesday to pass a bill that would make room in a changing society for adoption and foster care providers associated with a religious tradition, whether Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, or Islam.

The bill now moves to the Texas Senate, where a vote is expected before the legislative session ends May 29.

His legislation “doesn’t give you the ability to proactively do something because of your religious belief, it just gives you the right to decline something because of your religious belief,” state Rep. James Frank, a Republican, told The Daily Signal in an interview.

The intent of the legislation, Frank said, is to prevent faith-based organizations from being forced to violate their beliefs, such as by arranging for same-sex couples to adopt or provide foster care.

The bill allows such providers to decline service and refer a couple to another organization, said Frank, whose 69th District includes Archer, Baylor, Clay, Foard, Knox, and Wichita counties.

Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign, a major advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, said his group continues to fight the Texas bill.