Children are not born hating the LGBTQ+ community. They do not have innate senses that can detect some sort of evil residing in the bodies of people who love the same sex, nor do they lie awake in their crib in the middle of the night because the thought of transgender people keeps them up. Does this sound ridiculous? I couldn’t agree more. But imagine something even more asinine: the right to take in, adopt, and love a child as though he or she is your own is taken away from you and the sole reason is who you choose to love or which gender you choose to identify with.
Just one day before the Day of Silence, a day dedicated to bring awareness to and stop the harassment of LGBTQ+ students, Oklahoma legislators overwhelming agreed on a bill that propagates injustice instead of tolerance. On April 26th, Oklahoma legislators voted 60-26 to pass SB1140, a bill that would make it harder for LGBTQ+ couples to adopt children.
This bill allows adoption agencies to oppose the placement of a child if it violates the agency’s morals or religious beliefs. Similar bills have already been passed or are being considered in a stunning nine other states. Organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union have condemned SB1140, calling it “unconstitutional” and “patently discriminatory.” After all, isn’t a basic human right to raise a family? Ironically the adoption agencies claim the placement of a child can be against their morals but the most immoral idea is depriving a child a family for these reasons. However, the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma decided this bill is a better alternative than closing religion-based adoption agencies.
Ever since same-sex marriage was legalized in the USA in 2015, many think that the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is over. But legislature like SB1140 is evidence that the progress we have made is not enough. It’s as though other people get to pick and choose the lives of the LGBTQ+ community. As though it’s been decided they can marry but, you know what, let’s decide they can’t adopt children from some agencies. Who is the agency, who is the government, who is any person besides the LGBTQ+ parent to have any say in his or her family. Children are meant to be loved and raised and cherished. At the end of the day, sexual orientation or the gender by which one identifies with does not matter. At the end of the day, children will never be the ones turning down potential loving parents.
Let’s not forget about the transgender military ban that Trump has tried to enact. The government came for their right to fight for their country. And though the idea of stopping an American from defending their country is already unfathomable, this new bill is too far.
These acts of injustice have been going on for far too long, and they must be stopped. At least 75 countries still have anti-LGBTQ+ laws in place, and 51 of them explicitly deem same-sex marriage illegal. Being LGBTQ+ is still punishable by death in 10 countries. This fight is far from over, and in order for everyone to feel safe and respected, we must make a change in legislatures all over the world. Just as a child deserves to be loved by a family, parents deserve to be able to love and raise a family regardless of sexual orientation.
-Elise Hsu and Joanne Wang