Kansas Lawmakers Pass Dangerous Anti-LGBTQ Child Welfare Bill

May 4, 2018 • 11:49 am

As states advance pro-LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections, Kansas could become first state in the nation to pass anti-LGBTQ legislation this year

WASHINGTON – Lawmakers in Kansas today approved a bill that would allow adoption agencies receiving taxpayer funding to discriminate against legally married same-sex couples and LGBTQ youth, among others. SB 284 (formerly HB 2481) would permit child welfare agencies that receive taxpayer dollars and participate in government-supported child welfare services to discriminate against children and prospective parents. The bill now heads to Governor Jeff Coyler for his signature or veto.

Should Governor Coyler sign the bill, SB 284 will become the first major piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation to pass anywhere in the country this year. Neighboring Oklahoma just approved a similar anti-LGBTQ bill yesterday, illustrating a disturbing trend of anti-LGBTQ bills that target the child welfare system.

“Today Kansas lawmakers voted to play politics with vulnerable kids by targeting the LGBTQ community. In the name of anti-LGBTQ bias, this dangerous legislation hurts all children by allowing child welfare agencies to turn away loving families,” said Kasey Suffredini, president of strategy at Freedom for All Americans. “At a moment when nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people are advancing in states like Alaska and New Hampshire, our opponents are digging in and targeting our community where it hurts the most: LGBTQ youth in the state’s care and the ability of same-sex parents to start a family. Opponents of LGBTQ equal treatment have once again demonstrated their blatant disregard for the collateral damage caused by bills like these in Kansas and Oklahoma as they continue to advance their increasingly unpopular and mean-spirited agenda. We will not allow our hard-fought progress to be chipped away by these dangerous attacks, and we will fight back until all LGBTQ families are protected from discrimination.”

Yesterday neighboring Oklahoma legislators passed legislation to allow child welfare agencies receiving taxpayer funding to discriminate against LGBTQ youth and families, where advocates are calling on Governor Fallin to veto SB 1140. Colorado and Georgia rejected similar anti-LGBTQ legislation this session. Seven states already have these laws on the books – Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia. Three of those bills just passed last year. According to data from the Every Child Deserves a Family campaign, more than 21,000 youth were awaiting adoption in states with these discriminatory laws on the books in 2015.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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