“What is being done here is smoke and mirrors to provide public money to organizations that intend to discriminate on the basis of religious belief and to discriminate against LGBT Kansans,” said Rep. John Carmichael. He was the House Democrat assigned to work out a compromise between the House and Senate versions of the adoption bill that became law with Gov. Jeff Colyer’s signature.
Thomas Witt, director of the LGBT advocacy organization Equality Kansas, said no state dollars should go to agencies that shut out parents because they’re same-sex couples.
“These agencies want to tell some taxpayers, ‘You’re not good enough’,” he said.
A new system for hiring agencies to coordinate adoptions and foster care placements in Kansas will continue to let some groups cite religious beliefs to exclude some prospective parents — including gay couples.
The Department for Children and Families earlier this week had left lawmakers confused about whether a new grant system would extend those religious protections to the agencies taking over statewide foster care and family preservation contracts.
Agency officials said that some organizations won’t be able to impose their religious thinking when choosing parents, but that some still retain that power.
A law signed into effect this spring underscored the ability of the faith-based standards — promoted as a way to draw more agencies into the process.