It was another late night last night with the Kansas House passing the Adoption Protection Act around midnight, and then the Senate also passing the bill around 2:00 a.m. It was hard fought with some heated debate and followed a lot of shenanigans from outside groups like the ACLU and TechNet, as well as a lot of rallying the troops from groups like Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, Culture Shield and American Family Association.
The sentiment of the majority was that this bill would protect First Amendment rights. Faith-based agencies can continue to hold their sincerely held religious belief and still help the state of Kansas find loving homes for children in need of adoption or foster care. It is seen as legal shield for faith-based agencies that receive state tax dollars but are now not forced to place children with same-sex couples or other families in conflict with a church’s doctrine. The bill affects only about a third of the adoption agencies operating in Kansas.
The bill is now headed to Gov. Jeff Colyer, who has pledged to sign it into law.
“Catholic Charities and other adoption agencies are key to the fabric of our communities,” said Colyer, who attended a Catholic high school in Hays. “I look forward to signing this bill because it increases the opportunities for needy children to find loving homes.”
Representative Susan Humphries carried the bill in the House, and Representative Chuck Weber assisted.
Many had hollered “Fake News” regarding the letter that was sent from TechNet, when it was revealed they didn’t have permission to use the business names they put on the letter denouncing the Act. The day after they put this on the desk of every legislator, there was a retraction.
Critics of the bill argued it amounted to state-sponsored discrimination against gays or same-sex marriage.
Others saw the bill as preventing discrimination a different way.
“Faith-based organizations understand discrimination. So many times, they’re being discriminated against,” said Sen. Rick Wilburn, a Republican from McPherson.
“God did something special yesterday – and we got to be part of it,” said Eric Teetsel, President of Family Policy Alliance of Kansas. “Getting the Adoption Protection Act over the line was a battle from the beginning. We struggled to get hearings, were never allowed a vote in committee, failed on procedural motions, fought through conference committees, faced false and misleading attacks from opponents, and – on the final day – needed four separate votes to pass.”
The fact that the bill finally passed – after being left for dead more than once – at the end of National Day of Prayer was not lost on some observers.
“On the first of those votes, we got the 60 we needed,” Teetsel noted, “but we knew we had to get to 63 on ‘final action.’ Weeks and weeks of work, and we had just a few hours to find 3 more votes. But, do you know what yesterday was? National Day of Prayer. And – get this – just before the critical House vote, a troupe of bagpipers and drummers began to play under the Capitol dome. The tune? Amazing Grace.”
“These legislators were surrounded and supported by the Legislative Prayer Caucus and many others in the House and Senate,” said Donna Lippoldt of Culture Shield. “Many played an important role by fasting and praying. While the debate was going on there were over 800 believers in Wichita praying for righteousness to heal our land. All over the state prayer events were planned and taking place.
“For those who might not know, there are states that won’t let Faith-Based Adoption Agencies help their children, but not in Kansas.” Lippoldt noted. “We stood for Religious Liberty and the Freedom that our Kansas and National Constitution upholds.”
Passage of the bill is a win for the children of Kansas – it means we can count on more homes, more beds, and happier children, Lippoldt said.
Kansas has over 7,200 children in its foster care system and about 2,400 in state custody available for adoption.
Listed below is how your legislator voted, or decided not to show up and was absent.
ADOPTION PROTECTION ACT – VOTE RESULTS IN KANSAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES – PASSED 63 -58
Yea – (63): Alford, Arnberger, Aurand, Awerkamp, Bergquist, Blex, Burris, Carpenter, Claeys, Clark, Concannon, Corbet, Cox, Delperdang, Dietrich, Dove, Elliott, Ellis, Eplee, Esau, Finch, Francis, Garber, Hawkins, Highland, Hoffman, Houser, Huebert, Humphries, Jacobs, Jennings, Johnson, Jones, Karleskint, Kelly, Landwehr, Lewis, Mason, Mastroni, Orr, Osterman, Patton, Phillips, Powell, Proehl, Rafie, Rahjes, Resman, Ryckman, Schroeder, Seiwert, A. Smith, E. Smith, Sutton, Tarwater, Thimesch, Trimboli, Vickrey, Waymaster, Weber, Wheeler, Whitmer, Williams
Nay – (58): Alcala, Baker, Ballard, Becker, Bishop, Brim, Burroughs, Carlin, Carmichael, Clayton, Crum, Curtis, Davis, Deere, Dierks, Finney, Frownfelter, Gallagher, Gartner, Good, Helgerson, Henderson, Highberger, Hineman, Hodge, Holscher, Horn, Judd-Jenkins, Kessinger, Koesten, Kuether, Lusk, Lusker, Markley, Miller, Murnan, Neighbor, Ohaebosim, Ousley, Parker, Phelps, Pittman, Probst, Ralph, Rooker, Ruiz, Sawyer, Schreiber, Sloan, Stogsdill, Swanson, Thompson, Trimmer, Victors, Ward, Weigel, Whipple, Wolfe Moore
Absent and Not Voting – (4): Barker, Hibbard, Schwab, Winn
VOTE RESULTS IN KANSAS SENATE – PASSED 24-15
Yea – (24): Alley, Baumgardner, Berger, Billinger, Bowers, Denning, Doll, Estes, Fitzgerald, Goddard, Hardy, Hilderbrand, Kerschen, Longbine, Lynn, Masterson, Olson, Petersen, Pilcher-Cook, Pyle, Suellentrop, Tyson, Wagle, Wilborn
Nay – (15): Bollier, Faust-Bollier, Goudeau, Francisco, Haley, Hawk, Hensley,Holland, Kelly, McGinn, Pettey, Rogers, V. Schmidt, Skubal, Sykes, Taylor
Present and Passing – (1) Givens