Oklahoma Governor Signs Dangerous Anti-LGBT Child Welfare Bill Into LawBy Angela Dallara • May 11, 2018 • 8:50 pm
Late Friday night, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed SB 1140 into law, codifying discrimination against legally married same-sex couples and others looking to adopt, and imperiling the well-being of youth in the state’s child welfare system. The new law will permit taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to turn away same-sex couples, LGBTQ individuals, and others, and is the first major piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation signed into law during the 2018 legislative session. A similar bill is sitting on Governor Jeff Colyer’s desk in Kansas.
“Today is a sad day for Oklahomans,” said Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans. “Instead of looking out for the well-being of all Oklahomans, Governor Fallin decided to discriminate against parents and families who are ready to open their homes and their hearts to children in the child welfare system. The Oklahoma legislature has played politics with their state’s most vulnerable kids.”
SB 1140 is the first anti-LGBTQ bill to be signed into law in 2018 and comes against a wave of opposition including 15,000 Oklahomans who sent letters to their lawmakers urging them to reject the bill. Oklahoma was an outlier in the 2018 legislative session – only one other state, neighboring Kansas, considered a similar anti-LGBTQ bill. Seven states already have laws on the books that allow child welfare agencies receiving taxpayer funding to discriminate against LGBTQ youth and families – Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia.
Immediately following the signing of the bill, Freedom Oklahoma—the statewide LGBTQ organization—wasted no time in promising Governor Fallin and backers of this dangerous bill that they will challenge SB 1140 in court. Troy Stevenson, Freedom Oklahoma’s executive director, said in a statement:
“While we are deeply disappointed that Governor Fallin chose to sign discrimination into law, we are more concerned about the children – desperately looking for homes – that will be harmed by this disgraceful legislation. And the countless young people who will be stigmatized by state-sanctioned hate. Make no mistake, we will fight for the most vulnerable Oklahomans targeted by this law. Our message to Governor Fallin, and the lawmakers who championed this travesty is simple: we’ll see you in court!”
We’ll continue to stand with Freedom Oklahoma and families across the Sooner State to make the case that this dangerous and unnecessary law puts children in harm’s way and must be overturned without delay.