Private adoption agencies could soon refuse adopters based on religion; what about in Kansas?

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is proposing to roll back strict, non-discrimination provisions put in place by the Obama Administration.

The proposed rule would allow organizations receiving federal grant funding to refuse service to people based on their religious or cultural beliefs. This includes grant-funded adoption agencies.

If passed, the rule could make it possible for agencies to keep members of the LGBTQ+ community from adopting.

The Adoption Protection Act that was passed in 2018 in Kansas is similar. Private adoption agencies in Kansas have the right to refuse adoption placement.

Kansas adoption attorney, Allan Hazlett, said he doesn’t believe these regulations will create new issues.

“I don’t see it having much impact on placements,” he says. “There are plenty of resources available for the gay, lesbian, and transgender families to adopt. They don’t necessarily have to go through somebody that gets a grant.”

Hazlett explains that private adoption agencies have become few and far between. He says most people either adopt through a government adoption agency or foster care, or use a private adoption lawyer like him.

“I tell my clients…adoption is one of the most sensitive areas of the law and you should have whoever you’re comfortable with doing it for you,” said Hazlett.

The Kansas Adoption Protection Act and the proposed HHS rule changes only apply to private agencies. Federal adoption and foster care agencies are not allowed to discriminate based on personal beliefs.

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