Even though Texas Gov. Abbott vetoed 50 other bills on Thursday, he decided to sign one very controversial one: A Texas adoption bill that is anti-LGBTQ parents. UGH, why, Texas, why? The bill passed the state’s legislature back in May and activists have been trying to convince Abbott to veto it since then, but it was all for naught. It’s an awful bill, although Abbott and the bill’s sponsors maintain that it doesn’t affect anyone’s rights. Others disagree. House Bill 3859 will allow faith-based groups that work with the Texas child welfare system to deny any service that conflicts with their “sincerely held religious beliefs.” The bill was pushed through to Abbott’s desk mainly by Christian groups.
So if a gay couple wants to adopt from the system and the group disapproves of same-sex marriage, they can rightfully deny the couple. Same if one parent is transgender, or if a couple is simply not Christian.
There are many ways that the adoption bill could discriminate against LGBTQ parents.
Supporters of the bill say that there are other ways to adopt for any parent turned away from a faith-based group. But the discrimination isn’t the only terrifying part of the bill. Under the new law, faith-based groups will be well within their legal rights to administer conversion therapy to LGBTQ children. Denying adoption to LGBTQ couples, or any parent that the “faith-based” organization deems unsuitable means that LGBTQ children will be trapped in children’s group homes longer. They may be forced to go to group conversion therapy, attend Bible study or faith-based classes that tell them their mere LGBTQ existence is sinful, or worse, remain in the closet until adulthood.
Studies show that LGBTQ children who don’t have the support of their families or communities are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and are at a greater risk for bullying or suicide.
This bill makes an already terrible system worse. In 2015, U.S. District Judge Janis Jack of Corpus Christi ruled that Texas’ foster system was unconstitutional. Jack found that children were hurt by a system in which they “age out of care more damaged than when they entered.”
Check this language from a federal judge about Texas’ foster care system. She wrote that kids suffer “years of abuse, neglect and shuttling between inappropriate placements across the state had created a population [of former foster youth] that cannot contribute to society, and proves a continued strain on the government through welfare, incarceration or otherwise.” Ugh. Looks like would-be parents and the kids who need them are still dealing with a lot of hardship on the road to finding their families.