Over the weekend the Texas Senate advanced a bill that would allow child welfare providers to be protected from legal retaliation if they assert their "sincerely held religious beliefs" when making decisions on behalf of Texas children.
HB 3859 protects providers choosing to withhold adoption privileges to same-sex couples, interfaith couples, single parents, or other parents to whom the agency has a religious objection.
"It is unfortunate that the State of Texas would prioritize discrimination over the best interests of some of our most vulnerable Texans" said Brandon Wilke President of the Board for Montrose Grace Place. A number of organizations have voiced their concern for HB 3859 and have urged Texas Governor Greg Abbott to not sign it when it reaches his desk.
Montrose Grace Place will continue to provide a space for our youngest and most vulnerable Texans that is safe and supportive.
Montrose Grace Place is deeply saddened by the advancement of Texas House Bill 3859. There are over 22,000 children awaiting placement into homes in the State of Texas, and HB 3859 will do nothing to help them find loving parents. This bill protects child welfare providers from legal retaliation if they assert their “sincerely held religious beliefs” while caring for abused and neglected children. This could disqualify stable and generous LGBT families from adopting from Texas’ foster and adoption system.
Discrimination based on a personal religious belief has no place in Texas, and the state should not support the continued displacement of children. The child welfare system is in crisis, having seen over 250 deaths in the past year due to neglect and abuse. The state has responded by making it more difficult for families to adopt.
Montrose Grace Place is a Houston based organization that serves youth experiencing homelessness regardless of sexuality or gender identity. MGP will continue to be an organization that works on behalf of all youth so that they may have hope for the future.