Oklahoma Adoption Bill That Could Discriminate Against Gay Couples Passes House

The measure now moves to the governor, who has not indicated if she will sign or veto it.

The Republican-controlled Oklahoma House of Representatives on Thursday passed an adoption bill that critics argue could discriminate against same-sex couples.

The bill, which was introduced by Republican state Sen. Greg Treat, reads, “No private child-placing agency shall be required to perform, assist ... 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.” 

Zeke Stokes, a spokesman for GLAAD, an LGBTQ advocacy group, said in a statement, “This bill is heartless and un-American. No qualified parent should be turned away from adoption or foster agencies simply because they are LGBTQ.”

The measure would also allow agencies to turn away would-be parents on the basis of their marital status or religion.

Treat said the bill’s language has been mischaracterized. 

“It doesn’t do anything ... to prohibit same-sex couples from adopting,” Treat told Oklahoma City TV 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.”

The bill, which the state Senate passed in March, will now move to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, who has not made clear whether she will veto the bill or sign it into law.

Freedom Oklahoma, an advocacy organization for LGBTQ and other marginalized people, said it plans to seek legal action if the bill is enacted.