What is the “Freedom to Serve Children Act” and How Does it Impact LGBT Couples Looking to Adopt in Texas?

It has only been a few years that Texas has considered same-sex marriage legal. It wasn’t until June of 2015 that this happened. And, while it may seem like a victory for LGBT couples, we have seen more than a handful of other laws passed since. These recent laws make it difficult for Texas married couples to enjoy the same rights as other married couples.

Texas isn’t the only state doing this. Several states, especially in the South, have passed numerous laws over the past few years that discriminate against the LGBT community. There has been a lot of talk recently of bathroom laws and other laws affecting transgender people.

One of the most impactful of these discriminating laws is the “Freedom to Serve Children Act” which was passed in Texas in 2017. This law was allegedly intended to protect the religious freedom of child welfare agencies. However, in practice, it has done nothing but discriminate against LGBT couples (and others) when it comes to adopting a child.

With so many thousands of kids needing a loving home, this law seems counter-productive. You would think the State would be interested in placing these kids with any qualified parent – regardless of their sexual orientation. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

An experienced LGBT adoption lawyer in Houston can try to help you deal with the ramifications of this law. They can also explain exactly how the law works and what it means for you. Here, we give a brief history behind the law and try to explain what it means for you.

What Does the “Freedom to Serve Children Act” Say?

Texas Bill 3859, known as the “Freedom to Serve Children Act”, basically gives child placement agencies the right to deny placement based on religious reasons. Specifically, the law allows state-funded welfare agencies the ability to discriminate against anyone they feel is an unfit parent based on beliefs of faith.

Basically, the law exempts these agencies from legal action if they deny placement or adoption based on sexual orientation. The law also discriminates against single parents and people of different faiths, such as Muslim.

Prior to this Act, these agencies could be penalized for denying a placement based on these reasons. They could lose funding or be sanctioned. However, thanks to the “Freedom to Serve Children Act”, they can now do so free of any legal ramifications.

As long as the agency can cite genuinely held religious beliefs as the reason for a placement denial, they will be okay. The law claims that the State will offer alternative methods for adoption or foster parenting. However, there is no mechanism in place for this provision.

How Can Your LGBT Adoption Lawyer Help?

If any LGBT adoption lawyer promises that they can get you a child, they are not being honest with you. There are all kinds of criteria that go into deciding if a couple can adopt or foster a child. Some of these have nothing to do with sexual orientation.

Some of the criteria affecting an adoption decision include:

  • Financial stability
  • Employment history
  • Criminal background
  • Age
  • Home study
  • Consent of biological parents

While your LGBT adoption lawyer in Houston can help you through the adoption process, they can’t guarantee that your adoption will be approved. Nobody can do this. However, a lawyer can help make sure you prepare for the process.

The other thing an LGBT adoption attorney in Houston can do is help you find an adoption agency that is friendly to LGBT couples. Given the “Freedom to Serve Children Act”, State agencies have a lot of liberty in deciding who they’ll approve for placement. Your best option may be to use a private adoption agency. You may even want to consider an international adoption.

Contact an Experienced LGBT Adoption Lawyer in Houston, Texas

Adopting a child may seem like a dream for you and your spouse. It takes a lot of hard work and money to complete a LGBT adoption in Texas. The last thing you need are laws like “The Freedom to Serve Children Act” making it even harder.

One thing you can to help your chances for success is hire an experienced LGBT adoption lawyer in Houston, Texas. They understand how this law affects LGBT couples. They also know how to help you through the adoption process.

Call Eddington & Worley today and schedule your initial consultation with a skilled LGBT adoption attorney in Texas.

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