Discrimination paid for by taxpayers, SB1140 on its way to Gov. Fallin

The Gayly graphic.

By Jordan Redman
Staff Writer

SB1140, a bill that would allow religious-based adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples, single people and non-Christians while still receiving government funding passed in both the Oklahoma Senate and House of Representatives, again.

"To the extent allowed by federal law, no private child placing agency shall be required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency's written religious or moral convictions or policies," Section one of SB 1140.

The bill originally made it through Senate with a vote of 35-9 on March 13, 2018.

It then passed in the House Judiciary Committee with 13 yeas and 6 nays on April 11, 2018.

The bill passed in Committee after Rep. Osborn (R) introduced an amendment to deny state and federal funding to any agency that discriminates.

Rep. Walke (D) also introduced several amendments in an attempt to quash the bill.

Rep. Dunlap (R) then introduced another amendment to reverse Osborn's amendment. "By deleting 'receiving neither federal nor state funds,' says Dunlap's amendment.

Rep. Obsorn (R) motioned to table Dunlap's amendment. The motion passed on the House floor.

Rep. Calvey (R) then motioned to reconsider Dunlap's tabled amendment, which was denied. Rep. Humphrey (R) then motioned to suspend the rules, the motion was denied since it did not receive 2/3 vote.

Rep. Osborn's amendment to deny state and federal funding to any child placing agency that discriminates remained in place.

The bill passed out of the Oklahoma House of Representatives on April 26, 2018.

The has since been reverted back to its original language that would allow the use of state and federal tax dollars to discriminate in adoption.

It went before a special committee appointed by Sen.Treat (R).

It was signed out of committee by Sen.Treat (R), Sen.Dahm (R), Sen. Brecheen (R) and Sen. Daniels (R). Sen. Pittman (D) and Sen. Dossett (D) were the only nay votes.

Sen. Pittman's vote came after she responded to controversy regarding her yea vote in the Senate when the bill was first heard.

Sen. Pittman (D) did not vote on SB1140 on the Senate floor this morning.

The bill then went to the Senate, again. Where it passed 33-7.

Following the Senate vote, the bill passed in the House 56-21.

House Democrats fought hard against the bill before the vote.

Sharon Bishop-Baldwin, who successfully challenged Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage in 2014, said "I couldn't be more proud or grateful to the Democrats in the House who did literally everything possible to stop this despicable bill despite the Republicans' attempt to railroad it through. They are our heroes today."

She continued, "It's a scary world when both houses of the Oklahoma Legislature can get behind a bill that gives people a right to discriminate against their fellow Americans while using taxpayers' money to do it.

"I can only hope at this point that Gov. Mary Fallin sees through the animus and divisiveness behind this bill and does the right thing by vetoing it."

Bishop-Baldwin concluded, "We shouldn't have to keep fighting these fights year after year in the Oklahoma Legislature. We know that Oklahomans, by and large, don't support this continuous onslaught against the LGBTQ community. It is time for our legislators to remember whom they serve, and if they can't, then we need to get rid of them with our ballots."

Bishop-Baldwin is the Vice President of the Board of Directors of Oklahomans for Equality.

Sage Mauldin, Human Rights Commissioner for the City of Norman and Adjunct Professor of Human Relations said, "You are entitled to your deeply held religious beliefs, but you cannot base law on your religious beliefs and you cannot use your religious beliefs as justification to discriminate."

The bill is now on its way to Governor Mary Fallin's desk.

To contact Gov. Mary Fallin.
Local: (405) 521-2342 (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
After hours phone: (405) 522-8857 to leave a message. Option 6.

The Gayly. May 3, 2018. 5:08 p.m. CST.