LGBT-rights group's ad on Kansas adoption bill scrutinized

If lawmakers don't act changes in federal tax filing could trigger an increase in state income taxes for some Kansans

If lawmakers don't act changes in federal tax filing could trigger an increase in state income taxes for some Kansans. file Creative Commons-Flickr

Treat and Rep. Dunlap, and for the courage and steadfastness of state senators who understand the facts of this legislation and the importance of not only protecting faith-based services, but of the dire need to find more families for the more than 9,000 children waiting in Oklahoma foster care.

The Republican-dominated Oklahoma Legislature approved a similar measure on Thursday.

Lawmakers in Kansas and Oklahoma passed bills this week chipping away at marriage equality, approving legislation that would allow child-placement agencies to refuse placements based on their religious beliefs - such as discriminating against same-sex couples - without endangering state funding.

Projections this week from the Legislature's research staff suggested that the state can't sustain all the new spending and cut taxes without causing budget shortfalls as early as next year. The Senate's approval Thursday night or Friday would send the measure to Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer. And the bill says the Department of Children and Families can not block any agency from participating in programs exclusively because it refuses to adopt or place children with LGBT individuals. The letter, sent by the group TechNet, raised concerns the bill will hamper the state's ability to attract and retain workers.

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Opponents say the bill allows adoption agencies to discriminate based on their deeply held religious or moral beliefs.

Early this morning, the Senate passed a mega tax bill which is now up for debate in the House. "Treat's bill will enshrine that decision in Oklahoma statute", said Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop for Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City) called SB 284 a piece of "regressive, discriminatory" legislation that would have a harmful impact on Kansas' national reputation, labeling the bill the "vampire that won't die". After 45 minutes, it was clear that even if all of the potential yes votes were brought back from across the state, the bill was not likely to get to 63 votes for passage. One legislator almost had to be removed from the chambers following his protest of the bill.

Texas, Alabama, South Dakota, Virginia and MI already have such laws in place.

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"There is no homosexual agenda - I was told that, when people were saying that there was one, and now we find out, there is an agenda". Michigan's is being challenged in court by the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Catholic Charities and other adoption agencies are key to the fabric of our communities". They said same-sex couples would not be the only ones failing some agencies' "religious test".

In 2015, almost 355 Kansas youth "aged out" of the foster care system, leaving them at a higher risk for poverty, homelessness, incarceration, and early parenthood than youth adopted while in foster care. This measure does nothing but keep Oklahoma's most vulnerable youth out of loving and committed homes. The intent is to have as many agencies operating in Kansas as possible, she said.

Ross said for LGBT families looking to adopt, it isn't always obvious which agencies will work with them and which won't, she said.

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"If you're a single person, or a gay person, or a divorced person, or you're Jewish, then you better think twice before you call", Ross said.

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