This new law in Texas allows child welfare agencies to deny care to LGBTI children

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill that would allow child welfare service providers to deny certain care based on the provider’s ‘sincerely held religious beliefs.’

This bill, House Bill 3859, was signed on Thursday 15 June. Going into effect this September, the bill would allow discrimination toward LGBTI couples looking to adopt and permit LGBTI children in the agency’s care to be put through ‘religious education.’

House Bill 3859 affects adoption agencies, group homes, counseling services, etc. With this bill, agencies could legally refuse to help children on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

‘After a legislative session full of attacks on LGBTQ Texans, today, Gov. Abbott has codified anti-LGBTQ discrimination into law by signing HB 3859,’ said Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and adoptive parent, on Thursday.

‘This “Slate of Hate” that the Texas legislature has made a priority harms LGBTQ Texans. This law will now prioritize discrimination over the best interests of children looking for a loving, stable home. That is unconscionable, and we implore Gov. Abbott not to further pursue any further forms of anti-LGBTQ discrimination.’

Religious minorities, such as Jews and Muslims, as well as single parents and interfaith couples could also be affected by the bill.

‘This [bill] would allow adoption agencies to turn away qualified, loving parents who are perhaps perfect in every way because the agency has a difference in religious belief,’ Catherine Oakley, senior legislative counsel for HRC, said in May before the bill was signed into law.

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