Proposed Texas State Law
Proposed on May 10, 2017

Policy Summary

On May 10, 2017, the House of Representatives of the Texas State Legislature approved House Bill 3859, popularly known as “The Freedom To Serve Children Act.” The bill provides a defense for state-funded faith-based private adoption agencies that will insulate them from potential lawsuits for their decision to deny a couple from adopting a child. Every faith-based private adoption agency in Texas are Christian organizations and their mission is to place foster children with adoptive families. With this law, faith-based adoption agencies can prevent children from being placed with deserving couples and base their decision on their own personal religious beliefs. LEARN MORE


The proposed law in Texas is a deeply flawed bill. The bill will permit these faith-based agencies to refuse service to otherwise deserving couples for nothing more than a difference in religious views. Reggie Greer, Director of Constituent Engagement at the Victory Institute, has called this proposed law a “license to discriminate” while viewing the law as a way to prioritize one set of religious beliefs (Christian) over all others. The nonprofit Family Equality Council has also called the proposed bill an impermissible effort to circumvent non-discrimination laws. It can be used to deny adoption to minority or community groups that Christian groups do not want to support, such as qualified gay and lesbian couples who wish to adopt a child.

Favoring or disfavoring one qualified group over other qualified groups is still discrimination and this law is instead making it harder for children to be placed in stable and supportive homes. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE

Engagement Resources

This brief was compiled by Rod Maggay. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief, please contact



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