The Washington Blade reports:
In Texas, transgender rights supporters thwarted an attempt by state leaders to enact legislation that would have barred transgender people from using the restroom consistent with their gender identity. However, Texas—along with Alabama and South Dakota—enacted laws allowing taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to deny placements in homes based on religious objections, which could result in discrimination against LGBT families.
State transgender bathroom bans are an overreach of state power, imposing state authority into an area where no discernable problem seems to exists. Libertarian-minded people should oppose that sort of intrusion.
The second issue isn’t so clear cut, however. State funding of religiously affiliated social service organizations is now pervasive, placing private religious agencies in a bind. Despite the left’s spin, allowing religious agencies to operate according to their faith principles, even if they receive some state funding, is an arguable point. As Scott Shackford wrote at Reason two years ago (quoting Walter Olson, an IGF cofounder):
Much as with the controversies over bakers and florists, being denied service by one agency does not actually impact a gay couple’s ability to find and adopt children at all. But eliminating Catholic Charities from the pool reduces the number of people able to help place these children. It’s the children who are punished by the politicization of adoption, not Catholic Charities.
This is especially important when dealing with older children or children with special medical needs. … Allowing both sides (and others as well) to play their role as they see fit benefits all children in the system.
As for the concern that some adoption agencies take taxpayer money and then discriminate, Olson points out that it’s much more expensive to the taxpayers to leave children to be raised by the state, not to mention terribly cruel. “If you don’t care about the kids or the families, at least care about the taxpayers,” Olson says. But you should probably care about the kids, too.
The Blade reports that the two Texas legislative developments were a “mixed bag.” Others who are more liberty focused might see it as a wini-win.