Oklahoma Lawmakers Pass Bill Protecting Religious Convictions of Foster, Adoption Agencies

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Lawmakers in Oklahoma have passed a bill that protects the religious convictions of foster and adoption agencies in the state, in that they may decline to place children in certain households if the arrangement would violate the tenets of their faith.

“To the extent allowed by federal law, no private child-placing agency receiving neither federal nor state funds 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,” reads SB 1140.

The bill was presented by Senate Majority Floor Leader Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Travis Dunlap, R-Bartlesville, and passed the House 56-21 on Thursday after clearing the Senate 35-9 in March. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Mary Fallin, who has not indicated whether or not she will sign the legislation.

The proposal has received support from various faith-based groups in the state, including the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

“As Oklahoma Baptists, we want to voice our strong support of Senate Bill 1140, which we believe is necessary to protect the religious liberty of faith-based adoption providers in Oklahoma,” Executive Director Hance Dilbeck told the Tulsa Beacon. “Faith-based organizations have been on the leading edge of providing hope and good homes for children in need of adoption or foster care.”

He and retiring director Anthony Jordan wrote to lawmakers to explain their position.

“We have been alarmed and outraged to learn of threats to the religious liberty and moral convictions of faith-based agencies in other parts of the country, such as Massachusetts,” they wrote. “In Oklahoma, now is the time to ensure equal opportunity and protection for individuals and groups involved in foster care and adoption. Indeed the very survival and future of such organizations depends upon it.”

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Homosexual advocacy groups have argued that the bill is discriminatory and seeks to keep those in same-sex relationships from adopting children.

“Leadership of both houses forced an unneeded, unwanted, and un-American bill onto the governor’s desk. This measure does nothing but keep Oklahoma’s most vulnerable youth out of loving and committed homes,” opined Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Troy Stevenson following Thursday’s vote, which he called a “disgrace.”

However, Senator Treat said that the bill does nothing to stop homosexuals from adopting. Lawmakers who have pondered similar proposals have noted that secular persons can use secular agencies, rather than trying to force Christian or Catholic groups to violate their convictions.

The measure, Treat outlined, simply protects those faith-based groups from government punishment so that they can freely help address the foster and adoption needs in the state.

“It doesn’t do anything … to prohibit same-sex couples from adopting,” he told television station KFOR. “All it does is protect faith-based institutions who wish to participate, and some are sitting on the sideline right now. And I hope to get them involved to help us take care of the huge need.”

Lawmakers in Kansas are pondering similar legislation, which has already cleared the House. The Mercury News reports that while religious foster and adoption agencies have been operating for years without issue, some fear that they will be sued or that the political climate in the state could turn hostile toward them.

The late Anglican preacher J.C. Ryle once said, “Be very sure of this: People never reject the Bible because they cannot understand it. They understand it all too well. They understand that it condemns their own behavior. They understand that it witnesses against their own sins and summons them to judgment.”

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  • Susan Perelka

    Abba Father, Give Your people the freedom to train our children up in the way they should go, according to Your Word. Give us the freedom to proclaim Your truth to the lost. Prevent the wicked from silencing us. What they mean for harm, turn it for good. Let Your truth spread across this land and to the four corners of the earth. May it bring glory to You. In Jesus Name, our blessed Lord and Savior. AMEN

    • ♥LadyInChrist♥InGodITrust♥


  • mikegillespie

    So conscience still matters? Hallelujah!

    • ♥LadyInChrist♥InGodITrust♥


  • james blue

    So a religious adoption agency can refuse to place a child in a home of someone of a different religion? If the agency isn’t Christian faith it can refuse to place children in Christian homes?

    • rlwieneke

      Refusing to place children in Christian homes would be illogical as that would be the best place for them. No sane person would suggest that, LGBT on the other hand is Debauchery, Perversion, a Degenerative lifestyle that would be harmful for children to be exposed to.

      • james blue

        Sherin Mathews was adopted by Christian parents.

        • SR

          They were not Christians. Stop making things up.

        • rlwieneke

          ANY placement of children with LGBTPB (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Pedophilia, Bestiality) is HARMFUL to the children.

          • james blue

            With the exception of the last two I disagree.
            Some gays make for great parents, some do not. Some heterosexuals make for great parents, some do not. Some Christians make for great parents, some do not.

          • rlwieneke

            Any portrayal of Sin as being acceptable to children is Harmful to the children. The fact that the parents are gay negates anything positive they do by the Sin of the homosexual relationship.

          • james blue

            Show me a Christian who claims to be sin free and I will show you a liar.

          • rlwieneke

            No Christians claim to be free of sin, if they were there would be no need for Salvation. Christians are repentive and ask Yahweh for forgiveness whereas those under Demonic/Satanic influence embrace sin which puts them in Rebellion against Yahweh. Your complete lack of understanding of Christianity is why you don’t understand this.

          • james blue

            Repent then sin again.

          • rlwieneke

            james blue are you so completely stupid to think a Christian would claim perfection after asking Yahweh for forgiveness once. Yes, we sin again and again and then ask forgiveness again and again. The difference is we are forgiven and when we die we go to Heaven and the unbeliever dies with unrepentant sin and is Tortured for eternity. Also we KNOW what sin is and at least make an effort to avoid committing it.

          • james blue

            But you show children it’s okay to sin over and over, just repent. Rinse repeat.

            So how are we any better?

          • rlwieneke

            james blue now you are a LIAR, I never said it’s ok to sin. I never said that even once. You have show your true colors.Someone who asks the questions that you did that are commonly known precepts of Christianity to the general public are either stupid low IQ individuals or they have a malice against Christians and have no purpose to ask what they do other than to spread their contempt and Hate.

          • james blue

            So what do you call it when you sin, repent and then sin again? What would you say that is showing?

  • rlwieneke

    This policy needs adopted in all 50 states and then as a next step LGBT adoption needs Banned nationwide.

  • MichaelGC

    Gov Fallin signed this into law, and it takes effect on Nov 1.

    I’ll bet you anything that Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign is going through his speed dial right now, calling the Silicon Valley syndicate to order up a boycott and/or economic embargo of Oklahoma.

    If Oklahoma is targeted with another corporate blackmail & bullying campaign instigated by the left, Gov. Fallin must stand firm.