Texas lawmakers are set to vote on a bill that would allow state-funded or private adoption agencies to turn away potential parents based on religious objections to them being Jewish, Muslim, gay, single, or interfaith couples.
Republican sponsors of the bill, which is called the "Freedom to Serve Children Act," say it's designed to extend religious liberty protections to adoption agencies and foster care providers.
Texas Representative James Frank told CNN the bill would protect the state's faith-based child welfare providers. He added in a statement to CNN that the bill would allow those providers to "exercise their religious mission to serve others without fear of retaliation."
But opponents of the bill say it is discriminatory and robs children of stable homes.
"This would allow adoption agencies to turn away qualified, loving parents who are perhaps perfect in every way because the agency has a difference in religious belief," said Catherine Oakley, senior legislative counsel for the Human Rights Campaign. "This goes against the best interest of the child."
Oakley argued that the bill is a "violation of equal protection under the law."
Five other states have passed similar laws to protect faith-based adoption organizations on religious grounds. The main difference, however, is that Texas' bill would extend to state-funded agencies as well.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.