Kansas governor-elect Laura Kelly. (Screen capture: You Tube)
The governor-elect of Kansas, Laura Kelly, said in a news conference on Thursday, Nov. 8 that she will try to block enforcement of a new law that protects religious adoption agencies from being forced to place children in homes that violate their beliefs.
The Adoption Protection Act, which took effect in July, allows adoption agencies with “sincerely held” religious beliefs to refuse to place children in LGBTQ homes.
According to the Associated Press, Kelly, who has called the law the “adoption discrimination” measure, “said she will have her staff review how far the state can go to avoid enforcing the law.”
“If there is way to direct the agency to not implement that, then I will do that,” said Kelly, a liberal Democrat.
The executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference, Chuck Weber, said he believes the law will stand up to Kelly’s challenge, according to the Associated Press.
“We were very careful in drafting that bill, in dotting i’s and crossing t’s and making sure that this would pass constitutional muster,” Weber said.
The governor-elect’s statement came the same day the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released its annual report on adoption and foster care, which showed that the number of children in foster care has risen for the fifth straight year. The number of children waiting to be adopted is also at a high, according to the Nov. 8 report.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said the Adoption Protection Act is “keeping kids first.”
“We need more, not fewer, agencies to serve children who need loving homes,” said three chairmen of the USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz and Bishop James D. Conley.
The USCCB also said children receive “clear advantages” when raised by two married parents.
“Children receive gender specific support from having a mother and a father,” the USCCB wrote, citing research by the Witherspoon Institute. “Research shows that particular roles of mothers (e.g. to nurture) and fathers (e.g. to discipline), as well as complex biologically rooted interactions, are important for the development of boys and girls.”