Christian adoption advocates applauded Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin's decision to sign the controversial Senate Bill 1140 into law on Friday.
According to the new law, any child-placement agency will not be allowed to put children up for adoption or send them in foster care where they will be in situations that would "violate the agency's written religious or moral convictions or policies."
This means that faith-based institutions can deny anyone to push through with their adoption process if their lifestyle would go against their values and beliefs. This could include single women and men as well as gay couples.
Fallin explained her decision to sign the controversial bill in a statement, saying: "I note the aggressive efforts that have been made since I have been governor and the substantial progress made in finding more temporary and permanent placements for deserving children, reducing by 21 percent the number of children in state custody. This improvement is due in large part to the successful public-private partnership of more than 50 agencies, some of which are faith-based."
This made several Christian organizations happy since they believe that it will benefit and protect the children and families in Oklahoma.
"This much-needed bill not only protects and advances religious liberty, it ensures the strength and future of the faith-based adoption and foster care agencies who serve so many children and families in Oklahoma," Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma's Executive Director-Treasurer Dr. D. Hance Dilbeck Jr. stated in a statement published by The Baptist Messenger.
CNN also reported that Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City, and Bishop of Tulsa Most Rev. David Konderla expressed their gratitude for the support given by the governor by signing the bill.
However, LGBTQ advocates were not happy with the news. According to GLAAD Vice President of Programs Zeke Stokes, the move from the Oklahoma governor was unnecessary, and it could discriminate against families and children since it will stop LGBTQ couples, single individuals, and interfaith couples to adopt.
But according to Fallin, the SB 1140 was not intended to restrict any LGBTQ individuals and couples from adopting or fostering. It was not also made to stop same-sex foster care or adoption in the state of Oklahoma. Although, she claimed that the bill will be beneficial in making sure that the state will continue to successfully place children in loving homes. The governor also said that the bill was signed for the best interest of the children of the state.
Yet another LGBTQ rights group called Freedom Oklahoma was not convinced that the bill was not intended to prevent gay individuals and couples from adopting or offering foster care.
On their Facebook page, the group warned Governor Fallin and other lawmakers who signed the Senate Bill that they will file a case in court. However, the governor has yet to comment about the threat from the gay rights advocates.
Aside from Fallin, Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer is also expected to sign the SB 1140 in the coming days.