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Human Rights Campaign urging Gov. Fallin to reject proposed adoption measure

OKLAHOMA CITY – A national organization is still fighting against a bill that would make changes to Oklahoma’s adoption laws.

Earlier this month, the Human Rights Campaign called Senate Bill 1140 “troubling,” and also said it will give adoption agencies a license to discriminate against the LGBTQ community.

The bill would allow private adoption agencies to turn families away if their religious or moral beliefs don’t align with those of the agencies’.

For mothers like Kris Williams, she said the bill discriminates against her.

“As an LGBTQ community member, I have not added to the problem of our children in custody, but I have been a solution to that problem,” said Williams, who adopted her son six years ago. “Really what this bill does, it prevents my family from growing.”

However, the author of the bill denied the legislation would allow agencies to discriminate.

“When we see this protection go into place, we see increased child placements,” said Rep. Travis Dunlap.

During the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Leslie Osborn added an amendment to the bill.

“But if you are using state and federal dollars, I believe in the separation of church and state, so this simply says you may do whatever you want as long as you’re not receiving federal and state funds,” Osborn said.

The amendment said if the agencies discriminate, they’ll lose out on taxpayer dollars.

“This is a bigoted amendment to be broad about it. This discriminates against Catholics, Baptists, Assemblys of God, Pentecostals, a whole list and a whole host of other faith groups by regulating them to be second class citizens,” said Rep. Kevin Calvey.

Williams said Calvey has it all wrong.

“With the amendment, as a taxpaying citizen, you’re saying that you can take my tax dollars and turn around and discriminate against me with those same tax dollars,” Williams said.

After passing both chamber, the bill is expected to go to a conference committee before it is sent to the governor's desk.

Now, the Human Rights Campaign is urging Gov. Mary Fallin to not sign the bill if it ends up on her desk.

“SB1140 is a deeply discriminatory bill rooted in animus toward the LGBTQ community that would harm children in need and discriminate against loving families who want to open their hearts and homes,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “We should be making it easier -- not harder -- for children to find loving homes, and limiting the pool of parents for discriminatory reasons harms the very children these lawmakers are entrusted to protect. If SB1140 becomes law, it could prove catastrophic for Oklahoma’s economy and reputation. If it reaches the governor’s desk, HRC urges Governor Fallin to reject this dangerous legislation.”

“SB 1140 is discriminatory, harmful to youth and completely unnecessary. We will continue to fight against it becoming law, we will fight it in the court of public opinion, and we will fight it in court if necessary,” said Troy Stevenson, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma. “We hope this bill does not reach the governor's desk, but if it does we urge her to veto it.”