Nebraska bill would shield religious child welfare agencies

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A Nebraska senator is seeking legal protections for faith-based welfare agencies that refuse to provide services to same-sex couples.

Sen. Mark Kolterman of Seward introduced a bill Thursday that would prevent the state from slashing an agency’s funding or limiting its contracts if the agency cites a religious objection.

Last year, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services abandoned a policy barring gays and lesbians from becoming foster parents. Kolterman says in some states faith-based groups have been forced to close after refusing to provide welfare services to gay parents.

Kolterman says preserving public and private agencies is essential to finding homes for more than 5,600 kids under state care.

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