“I can hardly think of another state in our union that is more morally liberal than California,” wrote Christian evangelist Franklin Graham in the June 2018 issue of Decision magazine. “It sadly reflects the ungodly secular agenda of progressives who have gained control over much of the Golden State’s affairs. The state of California continues to display blatant hostility toward Christians.”
Though Graham’s analysis was not addressing the recent move of California's attorney general to ban all future state-funded travel to Oklahoma, it is a stark example of the truth of his statement. The move makes the Sooner State the ninth to be charged with violating a California law that prohibits state-funded and state-sponsored travel to states with laws that supposedly discriminate “on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the ban on Oklahoma on Friday. He explained that he was applying the law to Oklahoma because of that state's new law allowing private adoption and foster-care agencies to refuse, on religious grounds, to offer their services to same-sex couples, and still continue receiving state funds.
Becerra condemned the new Oklahoma law, which proponents argue was designed to protect religiously oriented adoption agencies from being forced to violate their beliefs that homosexual activity is a sin, and that the placement of a child in the environment of a homosexual couple is neither good for the child nor in accordance with the organization’s beliefs that such placement would be in violation of Scriptures.
Becerra, however, sees Oklahoma’s new statute as just another form of unfair discrimination, declaring, “California will not use state resources to support states that pass discriminatory laws. The law enacted in Oklahoma allows discrimination against LGBTQ children and aspiring LGBTQ parents who must navigate the adoption process. California taxpayers are taking a stand against bigotry and in support of those who would be harmed by this prejudiced policy.”
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter denounced Becerra’s remarks and actions as politics, stating, “The [Oklahoma] attorney general’s office will be conferring with other states that have been blacklisted by the California attorney general to determine what legal remedies are available.”
Hunter defended Oklahoma’s new law, declaring, “Oklahoma puts the interests of children ahead of political games.” He added, “It is utterly undeniable that our state, like many others, needs more participants in the foster and adoption systems — not [fewer].”
Tony Lauinger, the state chairman of Oklahomans for Life, noted that the new law is important in the fight against abortion, as well, stating, “This vitally important legislation promotes life by encouraging adoption. Adoption is a positive alternative to abortion for a mother who feels unable to raise a child. Senate Bill 1140 will result in more, rather than fewer, groups being able to assist in facilitating adoptions, and that will result in fewer babies being aborted.”
SB 1140 was enacted in the recently concluded session of the Oklahoma Legislature, and was defended by the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma, which argued that adoption agencies in some other states have been forced to abandon the charitable work of adoption services rather than violate their religious beliefs. “Contrary to opposing rhetoric, the bill does not change current practice for foster placement by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, nor does it ‘ban’ foster placement or adoption by any class of families, including same-sex couples,” the Catholic Conference insisted.
Former state Representative Dan Fisher, a Baptist minister and a Republican candidate for governor, told a recent gubernatorial forum that adoption services “ought to be able to practice what they believe without being forced to compromise their beliefs, just like Christian bakers and florists who are being asked to violate their religious beliefs. We should not do that.”
Another Republican running for governor, former federal attorney Gary Richardson, expressed similar sentiments. “Same-sex couples who wish to adopt children have the opportunity to do so through a number of avenues. But the government should neither boycott nor strong-arm a faith-based adoption service into violating the tenets of its religious foundation. This bill does not strip away anyone’s rights to adopt a child. It merely protects the rights of an entity which uses faith-based criteria for placement.”
In other words, what California is really demanding is that Oklahoma discriminate against religious charities in the awarding of vendor contracts. State Senator Greg Treat, the bill’s sponsor, said that his bill “was intended to avoid discrimination against religious organizations that want to be involved in the adoption process.”
Oklahoma is not alone in feeling the wrath of California’s state government, heavily dominated by left-wing fanatics. Other states that have been placed on California’s blacklist include Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.
Perhaps those states will retaliate by banning state-funded travel to California. It is unclear what action the nine states on California’s boycott list will take, if any, but the college football game in September between UCLA and the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma, will not be affected, as the Bruins of UCLA are already contracted to travel to the Sooner State to play the game.
It is not clear how much further left California can move, but this policy is certainly strong evidence for Reverend Graham’s bold assertion that there is no state “more morally liberal than California.”
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