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Texas governor signs controversial adoption bill into law

[JURIST] Texas Governor Greg Abbott [official profile] signed an adoption bill into law on Thursday that allows adoption agencies receiving public funding to refuse to place children in adoptive families or foster homes that conflict with the agencies' religious beliefs. The bill passed [JURIST report] in the Senate in May. The law states [text], "A child welfare services provider may not be required to provide any service that conflicts with the provider's sincerely held religious beliefs." Civil rights groups believe that this new law will be used to allow adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT parents and children and those who are religious minorities. Texas Freedom Network [advocacy website] said [press release], "The fact that this bill is now law reinforces the reputation of Texas as a state run by politicians who are hostile to treating everyone equally under the law." The bill's sponsor, Representative James Frank [official website] denies [Reuters report] that the intent of the bill was to discriminate.

The rights of same-sex couples remains an ongoing issue after the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision. Earlier this month a lesbian appealed [JURIST report] a Mississippi court decision that she is not a legal parent. 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. In May 2016 the Alabama Supreme Court vacated [JURIST report] its prior ruling refusing to recognize same-sex adoption from other states.

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