Nebraska State Capitol

Proposed Nebraska Bill would Let Religious Child Welfare Agencies Turn Away Gay Couples

Senator Mark Kolterman of Seward, Nebraska has introduced a bill that would allow child welfare agencies to refuse gay couples on the basis of religion. This would potentially prevent gay and lesbian couples in the state from becoming foster parents.

The proposed bill, Legislative Bill 975, would protect anti-gay agencies from losing funding if they made an objection on religious grounds. Kolterman has stated that many agencies have been shut down for refusing services to gay couples, and that the bill would be integral to maintaining these institutions and finding homes for children.

The bill states: “Having as many possible qualified child-placing agencies in Nebraska is a substantial benefit to the children of Nebraska who are in need of these placement services and to all of the citizens of Nebraska because the more qualified agencies taking part in this process there are, the greater the likelihood that permanent placement can be achieved for each child.”

Our Opinion: Anyone who can provide a loving home should have the opportunity to be a parent. If supporters of the bill were truly concerned with the welfare of foster children, they would encourage agencies to welcome all qualified parents, regardless of factors as irrelevant as sexual orientation. There have been huge strides in the adoption world for gay and lesbian parents in the last year, and we hope that this doesn’t become a step backward.