California: State-funded travel to Oklahoma prohibited following controversial adoption bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - After the governor signed a controversial adoption bill into law, the Sooner State has now found itself on a prohibited list.

In April, 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.

"Senate Bill 1140 was not about discrimination. In fact, this was intended to avoid discrimination against religious organizations that want to be involved in the adoption process.  Senate Bill 1140 expands and protects the eligible pool of participants in providing adoption and foster care services. It does not restrict same-sex couples from adopting. It does protect faith-based institutions that wish to provide these much needed services in Oklahoma,"  Sen. Greg Treat, the author of the bill, said in a statement to KFOR on Friday.

"When we see this protection go into place, we see increased child placements,” said Rep. Travis Dunlap, a supporter of the bill.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed the controversial measure into law in May.

Less than a month later, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that his state would prohibit state-funded and state-sponsored travel to Oklahoma as a result of the bill.

“California taxpayers are taking a stand against bigotry and in support of those who would be harmed by this prejudiced policy," Attorney General Becerra said, according to CBS 13.

In 2017, California adopted Assembly Bill 1887, which prohibits state-funded or state-sponsored travel to states with laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Oklahoma has become the ninth state to be added to the list. It joins Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

Oklahoma's Attorney General is weighing in on the ban:

“This action substitutes rhetoric for responsible adoption policy,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Oklahoma puts the interests of children ahead of political games. It is utterly undeniable that our state, like many others, needs more participants in the foster and adoption systems—not less."