Politics & Government

Apple, Google, other tech firms oppose 'discriminatory' Kansas adoption bill

Lawmakers return to the Statehouse on Thursday hoping to finalize work on a number of issues.
Lawmakers return to the Statehouse on Thursday hoping to finalize work on a number of issues. File photo

A network of companies including Apple, Google and Amazon are fighting a proposal before Kansas lawmakers that would allow adoption and foster care organizations to refuse placements to gay and lesbian couples based on religious beliefs.

TechNet — a coalition of more than 80 technology companies — has sent a letter to legislative leaders outlining the corporations’ opposition to the bill.

“Discriminatory legislation would hamper the state’s ability to attract, recruit and retain business and top talent, drive declines in the state’s travel & tourism industry, weaken the states to attract next-generation entrepreneurs and innovators, and make Kansas less competitive for the relocation or expansion of both large and small businesses,” the letter says.

Debate over the bill has hinged on whether it discriminates against gay and lesbian individuals and couples seeking to adopt or act as foster parents.

Opponents say the legislation amounts to discrimination and could result in fewer adoptions. Supporters of the bill say no one would be discriminated against and that it is needed to attract more organizations to help in adoptions.

“It is not a discriminatory bill. This is the right thing to do,” Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, has said.

A majority vote in the House could send the bill to Gov. Jeff Colyer. He would likely sign the bill, given that his Department for Children and Families supports it.

Legislative leaders have not said whether the House will take up the bill in the final week of the session. The Legislature must adjourn May 4.

The TechNet letter is dated April 17. The Human Rights Campaign, which opposes the bill, released it on Friday.

The release follows a news conference this week where bill opponents urged lawmakers not to pass the measure.