What happened with the adoption discrimination bill?

Yesterday there was a flurry of activity in the Kansas Legislature around a measure to allow child adoption placement agencies to discriminate against LGBT families if it violated that agency's "sincerely held religious beliefs." Basically, it would allow religious adoption organizations to avoid placing children with families it did not like. MainStream opposed the measure and testified against it, as did many others. But while a bills containing the measure never got traction, an amendment was added to another adoption-related bill and that one passed the Senate, but has been temporarily blocked in the House.

Here's what happened, and what you can do.

Originally, the ultra-conservative members of the Kansas Legislature proposed HB 2687 and SB 401, called the "Adoption Protection Act," which allowed adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT families (anyone, actually) based on "sincerely held religious beliefs." Believe Jews are bad people? You can discriminate against them! Unsure about Islam? Make sure no kids go to muslim families!

Both proposed bills received hearings last week, and opposition was fierce. Neither measure moved out of committee in their chambers. 

But the ultra conservatives were not done trying to discriminate in the name of "religious liberty."

In February, the Kansas House passed HB 2481, a bill whose contents had been worked on by committees for several years to update and refine an original 1990 law governing adoptions in Kansas. By all accounts, HB 2481 was a pretty good bill. In this form, it passed out of the House 117-0. Here is the supplemental note on that bill (i.e., the plain-language version of what was in the bill, at that point).

But then Sen. Molly Baumgardner (13% lifetime MainStream score) proposed an amendment to HB 2481 that inserted the Adoption Protection Act into the bill. There was a good deal of rancorous debate on the Senate floor, but in the end, the amended bill passed, 28-12.

Because the bill originally passed by the House had been amended, the bill had to receive an up or down vote in the House, and thankfully they turned it down, 58-64. Now the new bill will go to a conference committee, where members of each chamber will try to resolve the differences (the only difference is the Adoption Protection Act language) and then present the result to both chambers for another vote each.

This is where we are right now. HB 2481 is a good bill with a terrible amendment tacked on. It is a shame that politics has gotten in the way of good legislating, and that the ultra-cons feel the need to hold Kansas adoptions hostage to get their discriminatory legislation passed.

MainStream does not support HB 2481 with the included Adoption Protection Act language. Nobody should.

Here are the Senators who voted to pass the bill, and the Representatives who voted to concur. Each supported discrimination against Kansans based on religious views. Not sure who represents you? Find out at ksleglookup.org

Senators supporting discrimination

Alley, Baumgardner, Berger, Billinger, Bowers, Denning, Doll, Estes, Fitzgerald, Givens, Goddard, Hardy, Hilderbrand, Kerschen, Longbine, Lynn, Masterson, McGinn, Olson, Petersen, Pilcher-Cook, Pyle, V. Schmidt, Suellentrop, Taylor, Tyson, Wagle, Wilborn,

Representatives supporting discrimination

Alford, Arnberger, Aurand, Awerkamp, Bergquist, Burris, Carpenter, Claeys, Clark, Corbet, Delperdang, Dietrich, Dove, Elliott, Ellis, Eplee, Esau, Garber, Good, Hawkins, Highland, Hoffman, Houser, Huebert, Humphries, Jacobs, Johnson, Jones, Karleskint, Kelly, Landwehr, Lewis, Lusker, Mason, Mastroni, Orr, Osterman, Phelps, Powell, Proehl, Rafie, Rahjes, Resman, Ryckman, Schroeder, Schwab, Seiwert, A. Smith, E. Smith, Sutton, Tarwater, Thimesch, Trimboli, Vickrey, Weber, Wheeler, Whitmer, Williams,

Be sure to let them know how you feel about the bill, especially if they are your legislators.

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