A Nebraska bill would allow faith-based foster care organizations to block same-sex couples from fostering or adopting their children, while still maintaining state funding.
The bill, which was advanced by the Nebraska Senate Judiciary Committee in a 5-3 vote on March 18, will go to the Senate floor for debate, according to 1011 Now. Two committee members stormed out in protest after Friday’s legislative action, claiming that the bill violates the rights of same-sex couples and would unfairly hurt children looking for parents.
"I am vigorously opposed to this bill,” Adam Morfeld, one of the senators who left the executive committee meeting, told 1011 Now. “I am going to engage on extended debate on the bill and make it so we have a long conversation about why this is harmful for kids and families in Nebraska.”
Others, such as faith-based foster care organization Compass, support the bill for promoting religious freedom as well as ensuring a better experience for both organizations and foster parents who do not have similar views on same-sex parenting.
"Other families who don't identify with a faith-based agency are referred to foster and adoption agencies that prepare them to serve children,” Bill Williams, Chief Operating Officer of Compass, told 1011 Now. "We believe that LB 975 will provide the most homes for hurting kids and will make sure no prospective foster parent misses an opportunity to serve children.”
The bill comes after a landmark Supreme Court case legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015, providing greater incentives for many couples to foster children together. However, Nebraska isn’t the only state where same-sex couples face opposition. On Feb. 24, a panel in the Utah House of Representatives rejected a bill that would give all parents equal rights to foster and adopt children, regarding of the parents’ gender or sexual orientation, according to the Deseret News.