Oklahoma families are hoping to put a stop to a bill they say would discriminate against same-sex couples, single mothers and interfaith couples and children.
SB 1140 passed through the Oklahoma House on Thursday with a 60-26 vote.
The original bill was designed to protect child-placing agencies that block adoptive parents who do not meet the agencies’ religious or moral standards. An amendment has been added to the bill that only extends those protections to agencies that receive no state or federal funds.
The Associated Press reports that the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma is attempting to remove the amendment.
Chris Williams has already gone through the strenuous process of adopting a child.
“You worry about judgement. You worry about, you want everything to be perfect because you know they’re going to be hyper vigilant about finding some kind of mistake,” Williams said.
Her partner Rebekah Wilson eventually wants to adopt as well.
“There is a child in the world that is my child, that is not yet in my arms and this bill is particulary disturbing,” Wilson said.
As it stands, SB 1140 would alllow private adoption and foster care agencies to exclude potential families from the process.
The bill reads “”no private child-placing agency shall be required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.”
“What they’re trying to do is say that our community or communities that don’t believe like they do that somehow, they are criminalizing us and saying that we are unfit,” Williams said.
Freedom Oklahoma says they are standing by to file a lawsuit if the bill is signed into law.
“To shut down an avenue for creating a family is incredibly destructive and sends a horrible message about our values,” Wilson said.