This June marks the third anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic decision recognizing marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that struck as unconstitutional state-level bans on same-sex marriage. While the decision marks a high point for legal recognition of LGBTQ rights, familial equality for LGBTQ people remains elusive.
This year, lawmakers in both Kansas and Oklahoma passed laws allowing child-placement agencies to refuse to serve certain families, including LGBTQ families, based on the agencies’ religious or moral beliefs. Nine states, including Kansas and Oklahoma, have laws on the books that allow religiously affiliated child placement agencies to refuse to place children with LGBTQ people based on religious or moral beliefs.
Meanwhile, Washington, D.C., and eight states—including California, New York, and Wisconsin—have laws that specifically prohibit child-placement agencies from discriminating against people for adoption, foster care, or both on the basis of their sexuality. Washington, D.C., California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey also forbid similar discrimination based on gender identity. As this timeline shows, with the Supreme Court avoiding a ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission that would have unequivocally declared that religion cannot be used as a tool of anti-LGBTQ discrimination, LGTBQ families now face an uncertain legal landscape.
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