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AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — State-funded adoption agencies backing Texas legislation that would sanction the rejection of prospective parents on religious grounds freely admit they already routinely deny non-Christian, gay, and unmarried applicants because they are wary of their beliefs or lifestyle.
The organizations are paid by the state to place foster children with adoptive families. They want to continue the practice and are seeking legal protections through Texas’ “Freedom to Serve Children Act,” which is up for consideration Tuesday in the GOP-controlled House.
Sponsors say it protects religious objections already being raised by adoption agencies. But civil groups say it sanctions discrimination.
“As a governmental entity, Texas is bound to treat people equally under the law,” said Catherine Oakley, senior legislative counsel for the Human Rights Campaign. “This is a violation of equal protection under the law.”
The bill also blatantly violates the Constitution, Oakley added.
State Rep. James Frank, R-Wichita Falls, authored the bill. Currently, there are five other states with similar laws protecting faith-based adoption organizations that refuse to place children with gay parents or other households on religious grounds — but Texas’ rule would extend to state-funded agencies.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)