Live in Texas? Your representatives need to hear from you.

A bill is pending in the Longhorn State that would allow adoption agencies, whether private or public, to discriminate against potential clients on religious grounds. This is not only bad news for LGBTQ families, but also for the 22,000 Texas children currently waiting for placement.

The grossly misnamed “Freedom to Serve Children Act,” introduced by Republican James Frank as House Bill 3859, would allow private and state-funded welfare agencies to deny services based upon “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Critics of the bill fear it will allow agencies to refuse placement of a child for no other reason than a prospective parent’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The bill is just the latest in a rash of “religious freedom” initiatives being introduced in states across the country. Five states have already passed similar “religious freedom” laws. According to the ACLU of Texas, HB 3859 is one of 17 bills filed in the legislature so far this year that “would allow government officials, private individuals and businesses to discriminate against LGBT people in virtually all aspects of their lives."

But in an interview with CNN, Terri Burke, the Executive Director of ACLU Texas, said HS 3859 is just about as “limiting of a bill” that she’d seen. “We simply cannot afford to turn away any loving families who are willing and able to welcome vulnerable children into their homes,” the organization said in a statement.

Live in Texas? Give your representative a call; the bill may be up for a vote later today. The Human Rights Campaign has made it easy to contact your representatives: Text HB3859 to 30644 be connected to your rep, and tell them to vote NO on this discriminatory legislation.


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