AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A Texas bill that's been accused of discrimination is receiving support from some local adoption agencies.
Under House Bill 3859, publicly funded foster care and adoption agencies could refuse to place children with non-Christian, unmarried or gay prospective parents because of religious objections. The measure would also prevent people from taking legal action against any private agency that does so. Executive Director of the Special Delivery Adoption agency Cindy Gilliland said they have rejected prospective parents in the past because their beliefs didn't meet their statement of faith.
"If I were to go to an agency that was serving only atheists, I wouldn't qualify there, I wouldn't fit in, I wouldn't be a good fit for them and they wouldn't be a good fit for me," said Gilliland. She continued saying, "I think everybody's looking for the place they would be best suited and best served, and be on the same page so to speak."
Foster Parent Recruiter at The Bair Foundation Jonathan McLoughlin said he's never turned anyone away based on beliefs, but the foundation tries their best to pair kids with the appropriate parents.
"We do try to line up kids with families that are going to be compatible with them," said McLoughlin. He continued saying, "We also want our foster parents to be a good match for us as well so we set them up to be as successful as possible."
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services shows there are 425 children waiting to be adopted in the Panhandle area. Vice President of Buckner Children and Family Services Randy Daniels said this bill will allow faith-based agencies to expand in the area, and that there's more than enough options for those looking to become parents.
"Seventy-five percent of the agencies in the state of Texas that participate in providing child welfare services to state kids are secular. This wouldn't impact them at all. Only twenty-five percent are faith-based," said Daniels.
He continued saying, "When I say faith-based, it's all faiths. It could be Christian, it could be Jewish, it could be Muslim. [This bill] just protects that groups right to practice their sincerely held religious beliefs."
The bill has been approved in the House and now heads to the Senate for consideration.