One Kansas legislator said the bill was needed to stop the "homosexual agenda."
Marilyn Drew Necci | May 8, 2018
Less than two weeks ago, we told you about Oklahoma passing a “conscience clause” law that would allow adoption and foster care agencies to turn away couples whose existences violated their “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Now their neighbors to the north have followed in their footsteps, passing legislation through both state legislative houses in the wee hours last Thursday night and Friday morning. Kansas governor Jeff Colyer has promised to sign the bill into law.
Like the Oklahoma bill, the Kansas bill as currently written does not apply to agencies that receive funding from Kansas’s Department for Children and Families. However, the Kansas DCF has supported the bill; Rep. Jarrod Ousley told the Wichita Eagle that DCF officials told him they’d been approached by groups operating outside Kansas that would start operating within the state if the law was passed.
I suppose the logic there is that any agency working to help children is needed to ensure that kids aren’t left behind or neglected. But when I think about the possibility that some of those kids are LGBTQ, or alternately could find a loving home with an LGBTQ couple that those agencies will instead turn away, that argument rings hollow.
Republican Kansas State Senator Steve Fitzgerald said the fight against the legislation was an indication of the decline of our civilization, and proof of the “homosexual agenda.” “‘There is no homosexual agenda.’ I was told that,” Fitzgerald said, according to the Wichita Eagle. “And now we find out there is an agenda. And what was once tolerated is now becoming dominant and is intolerant. Totally intolerant.”
TechNet, a group of prominent tech companies that includes Google, Amazon, and Apple, sent a letter to the state legislature, opposing the bill and mentioning the possibility that it will hurt Kansas’s ability to bring new jobs to the state. But supporters of the bill dismissed this concern by pointing to… wait for it… our home state of Virginia, presenting us as a state that has had such a bill for several years without facing economic consequences.
And it’s true; Amazon may have dropped some hints through TechNet about staying out of Kansas, but they’ve certainly continued to bring their operations to Virginia at a steady pace since the Virginia law establishing the right of adoption providers to discriminate against LGBTQ couples was passed in 2012. New facilities have been opening around the state for years, and rumors currently indicate that Amazon’s new corporate headquarters, set to create as many as 50,000 jobs, is likely to land in Virginia.
If that facility ends up just across the border in Maryland, it may finally make the point to Virginia’s powers that be — and those in other states, like Kansas and Oklahoma — that repressive policies like the one that will soon be on the books in Kansas are not the way forward for their state. However, the likelihood of that happening is unknown at this time. What we do know is that, in an increasing number of states, LGBTQ couples looking to adopt children will have a harder time doing so. And that’s disappointing no matter how you look at it.
Top photo by Aviper2k7 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0/via Wikimedia