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Texas senate sends 'religious refusal' adoption bill to governor

[JURIST] Texas' Republican-controlled Senate gave final approval to a bill that would enable publicly funded foster care and adoption agencies to refuse the placement of children with non-Christian, unmarried or gay prospective parents due to religious objections. The "Freedom to Serve Children Act" [text, PDF] was passed early Monday and will now go to Governor Greg Abbott [official website] for his consideration. Senator Charles Perry of Lubbock [official website] said [AP report] that the bill does not prohibit particular groups from adopting. In contrast, critics of the measure have called the bill a form of state-funded discrimination. The bill is opposed by various LGBT rights groups and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas [advocacy website].

The rights of same-sex couples remains an ongoing issue after the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision [SCOTUSblog materials]. In February a federal judge ordered [JURIST report] South Carolina to list both same-sex parents on a child's birth certificate. In December the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a law [JURIST report] that allows only the biological parents to be placed on the birth certificate, finding that equal protection was not violated by "acknowledging basic biological truths." In August New York's top court expanded [JURIST report] the definition of "parent" to better accommodate same-sex couples. Last May the Alabama Supreme Court vacated [JURIST report] its prior ruling refusing to recognize same-sex adoption from other states. Last April a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi struck down [JURIST report] Mississippi's ban on adoption by same-sex partners.

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