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TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer signed legislation Friday granting legal protections to faith-based adoption agencies that cite their religious beliefs for not placing children in lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender homes, an action that quickly became an issue as he runs this year to keep his office.

The Republican governor signed the measure during a ceremony at a Christian boys’ home outside Wichita, surrounded by supporters who view it as a religious-freedom measure. But the Democratic Party and one of Colyer’s opponents in the GOP primary immediately criticized him as supporting discrimination.

The new law takes effect July 1.

Under the policy, agencies cannot be barred from providing foster care or adoption services for the state if they refuse to place children in homes violating their “sincerely held” religious beliefs. In Oklahoma, term-limited Republican Gov. Mary Fallin signed similar legislation last week; seven other states have such policies.

Supporters contend that such laws prevent adoption agencies from facing lawsuits over their faith-based placement policies or hostile actions from state officials who disagree with their views. Catholic agencies in California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., have stopped handling adoptions.

The top administrator at the Kansas Department for Children and Families argued that such a law would encourage faith-based agencies to place more foster children in adoptive homes or to start doing such placements.

“By keeping faith-based adoption agencies in our state, we give more children the opportunity to be adopted,” Colyer said in a statement.

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  • 23cal
    May 19, 2018 at 8:02 a.m.

    This is vile and unconscionable.
    *
    It is wholly incompatible with the United States Constitution, and specifically the First and Fourteenth Amendments, for the government to financially support discriminatory entities. Regarding the state’s claim of religious freedom, religious liberty does not require the government to subsidize invidious discrimination in adoption or in any other realm.
    *
    Under this law, publically funded adoption providers may discriminate in their placement of children without risking their financing. They may, for religious reasons, refuse to place children with LGBTQ couples, with atheists, with unmarried couples, or with those in minority religious groups. Members of those groups will be compelled to pay taxes to financially support adoption providers which discriminate against them in the placement of children. At its core, this law means that vulnerable children will be deprived of loving homes due to the religious beliefs of placement agencies.
    *
    These religious groups which want to discriminate are welcome to do so on their own dime, but it is blatantly wrong to force people to subsidize them with tax dollars to discriminate against the very taxpayers who are providing those dollars.

  • PopMom
    May 19, 2018 at 9:08 a.m.

    I wish that all adoption agencies were nondenominational. Some of the religious nuts do a poor job of placing children in fit homes. They only want to place them with other religious nuts. Remember that state legislator who gave his adopted children away to a child molester? What a creep. I remember when we were checking into adopting out of state, my husband and I were considered unqualified by the Christian agencies because my husband was a half-Jew and not Christian enough.

  • 23cal
    May 19, 2018 at 10:14 a.m.

    PopMom...please accept my sympathy for the way you were treated. That kind of religious nuttery is evil.

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