Thursday the Republican-controlled Oklahoma legislature approved an adoption measure that critics say discriminates against same-sex couples, non-Christians and single parents.
This legislation would then allow faith-based adoption agencies, including those that receive public funds, to turn away would-be parents on the basis of their marital status or religion and religious beliefs. Proponents of the bill said the legislation would open the door for more child placement partnerships.
The state House of Representatives approved the bill by a 56-21 vote without discussion or debate, despite vocal objections and attempted parliamentary maneuvering from the Democratic caucus.
But opponents most likely will file legal challenges. And in June of 2017 the Supreme Court reversed an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling and ordered all states to treat same-sex couples the same as heterosexual couples in the issuance of birth certificates. This and other court rulings have made adoption by same-sex couples legal in all 50 states.
During the vote, both sides shouted insults at each other and the presiding officer threatened to remove one Democratic lawmaker from the floor for refusing to take his seat.
Earlier in the day, the Senate passed the bill by a 33-7 vote. The measure now goes to Governor Mary Fallin, who has not publicly indicated whether she will sign it.
Leaders with Human Rights Watch and Oklahoma’s gay community criticized the bill, calling the measure unnecessary and divisive.
Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Troy Stevenson said what happened on the floor of the Oklahoma House and Senate today was a disgrace.
Republican State Senator Greg Treat, who introduced the bill, told Oklahoma City TV station KFOR the language of the bill has been misconstrued.
Treat says the legislation still allows gay couple to adopt. All it does is protect faith-based institutions who wish to participate, and some are sitting on the sideline right now.