For Immediate Release: 3 May 2018

Oklahoma faith leaders praise House approval of adoption protection

Oklahoma City–Oklahoma’s Catholic bishops welcomed the State Legislature’s approval Thursday of Senate Bill 1140 that will allow faith-based adoption services to reduce the number of children waiting to be matched with loving families.

“We are thankful for the leadership of Sen. Treat and Rep. Dunlap, and for the courage and steadfastness of state senators and representatives who understand the facts of this legislation and the importance of not only protecting faith-based services, but of the dire need to find more families for the more than 9,000 children waiting in Oklahoma foster care. We also seek guarantees for authentic religious freedom in Oklahoma so that faith-based organizations may remain on the leading edge of providing hope and good homes for children in need.”

SB 1140, authored by Sen. Greg Treat, mirrors similar laws recently passed in Virginia, Michigan, South Dakota, Texas and elsewhere. In states like Massachusetts, Illinois, California and the District of Columbia, faith-based agencies have been forced to close after new regulations were promulgated that would have mandated changes to their adoption criteria in violation of their religious principles.

Contrary to opposing rhetoric, the bill does not change current practice for foster placement by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, nor does it “ban” foster placement or adoption by any class of families, including same-sex couples.

This past year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled adoption agencies that receive state funds or other support cannot be denied the right to exercise their religious mission. Sen. Treat’s bill will enshrine that decision in Oklahoma statute.

The bill has been passed by the Senate and the House. It now goes to the governor.

Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley
Archbishop, Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

Most Rev. David Konderla
Bishop, Diocese of Tulsa