They believe the bill, sponsored by Greg Treat of the Senate, will be a jump start to adoption services that are not faith-based. The legislation will not restrict the establishment of agencies who are not faith-based, but will provide protection to faith-based agencies who, in some states, are required to place children in families that are in direct conflict with the principles of their faith.
This has forced the closing of such agencies, leaving children in limbo.
The legislators and clergy alike want to avoid what they call “tragic results” by laws passed in states like Massachusetts, Illinois, and California. The adoption laws passed in these states have required ALL agencies to live under the same laws, placing children in families that are living in opposition to certain faith’s principles.
Failure by these agencies to comply with those laws has created legal challenges, closed and impeded openings of adoption agencies and adoptive parents have been reluctant to enter into agreements with adoption agencies for fear of these regulations forcing agencies to close or become bankrupt.
Birthparents have also been affected, not knowing how to select a family or an agency. Clergy and legislators believe if this bill is passed into law, birth parents can be guided to choose an agency that is in line with their own values and beliefs.
Government leaders in other states such as Virginia, Michigan, North and South Dakota and Texas have moved to proactively reaffirm the right of faith-based agencies to serve their community and the children of their community in ways that honor their conscience.
Oklahoma lawmakers believe that instead of adopting a one size fits all policy and imposing it on every adoption agency, they and these above mentioned states are promoting a “come one, come all” approach, where any licensed organization is welcome to help children in a way that is in accordance with their belief system.