Senate to Vote On Religious Protections for Adoptive, Foster Care Parents and Providers

Senate to Vote On Religious Protections for Adoptive, Foster Care Parents and Providers

By Corinne Murdock |

On Monday, the Senate determined that SB1399 would advance for a final vote as early as next week, a bill that would prohibit the state from discriminating against potential adoptive or foster parents or individuals who advertise, provide, or facilitate adoption or foster care services based on their religious beliefs. State Senator Sine Kerr (R-Buckeye) introduced the bill.

The bill also allows the state to consider the child’s religious beliefs in their placement with a family. Individuals may also seek court relief if they believe they’ve been discriminated against, and are entitled to recoup attorney fees, compensatory damages, and any relief including injunctive or declaratory. 

Acts of religious discrimination were classified as altering the tax treatment of a person, including assessing penalties and refusing tax exemptions; disallowing or denying a tax deduction for charitable donations; withholding, reducing, excluding, terminating, or materially altering the terms or conditions of a state grant, contract, subcontract, cooperative agreement, guarantee, loan, scholarship or other similar benefit from or to a person; withholding, reducing, excluding, terminating or adversely altering the terms or conditions of or denying any entitlement or benefit under a state benefit program from or to a person; imposing, levying or assessing a monetary fine, fee, penalty, damages or an injunction; withholding, reducing, excluding, terminating, materially altering the terms or conditions of or denying license, certification, accreditation, custody award or agreement, diploma, grade, recognition or other similar benefit, position or status from or to a person; and refusing to hire or promote, forcing to resign, fire, demote, sanction, discipline, adversely alter the terms or conditions of employment, retaliate or take other adverse employment action against a person employed or commissioned by the state government.

State Senator Raquel Terán (D-) said she opposed the bill in committee because she didn’t consider religious discrimination to be a valid form of discrimination, calling it “alarming.”

“This is discrimination that hs no place in our country or in our state,” said Terán.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.