Passage of Kansas adoption bill allowing religious veto draws mixed reactions

TOPEKA, Kan. - Governor Jeff Colyer says he will sign a controversial adoption bill approved by the Kansas House and Senate.

HB 2481 is also called the Adoption Protection Act. Under the act, child placement agencies are not required to assist in the placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency's religious beliefs.

Some fear this could lead to discrimination against LGBT couples and deter same-sex families from fostering or adopting children.

“There's probably more than 120,000 Kansas citizens who identify as gay or lesbian, and those are 120,000 Kansas citizens who are paying tax dollars to the state. They should have access to step up and be a provider of foster care or be an adoptive family if they choose to be,” said Lori Ross, president and CEO of FosterAdopt Connect.

Ross said there are a significant amount of kids in the foster care system who identify as LGBT. She fears the passing of this legislation could send the wrong message to them. She's also concerned that this move could hurt the state's economy.

“I believe that the state of Kansas is going to end up spending a whole lot of money trying to defend this legislation, just like many of those other states [with similar laws in place] are going to do. We are going to lose business as a result of this legislation,” Ross said.

Meanwhile, other agencies in Kansas are rejoicing.

“Certainly, we supported the bill. Our issue is that if it brings additional resources to the table that we currently don't have, that we would be supportive of it,” said Gina Meier-Hummel, secretary for theKansas Department for Children and Families.

Meier-Hummel said the measure is not discriminatory at all.

“It`s frustrating to me that this has been taken out of context and made to be something that it`s not. We are not limiting anyone from being prospective foster and adoptive parents, and we welcome all who are interested in being perspective parents,” Meier-Humme said.

She thinks the bill will benefit the 7,500 youth who are currently in the Kansas DCF system and families who seek to foster or adopt them.

“It just grows the resources we have at our discretion, and it helps us with our works,” Meier-Hummel said.

“We`ll help guide families to the most appropriate agencies. We want families of all different types who want to love kids and want to care for kids and want to help us out. We will guide them to agencies that will be supportive of them,” she adds.

Several states across the country have passed or are considering similar legislation. Oklahoma lawmakers approved a similar measure on Thursday.