Texas' new adoption law, set to take effect Sept. 1, is back in the news — this time via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The Star-Telegram's 1,800-word piece is not terrible. Granted, it's not going to win any awards for fair and balanced journalism. But the paper makes at least a cursory attempt to reflect both sides.
Nonetheless, it seems clear which side the newspaper favors — the one featured in the lede and conclusion as the Star-Telegram focuses on this theme:
Some 20,000 Texas kids need homes. But will a new law turn families away?
Let's start at the top and see how long it takes the first scare quotes to appear:
Franklin and Amy Countryman dream of someday serving as foster parents to children who need homes — and possibly adopting a child or two.
But the Mansfield newlyweds fear a new Texas law geared to let child welfare service providers deny children to Texans based on a provider’s “sincerely held religious beliefs” could make their quest harder.
At issue: Many adoption agencies are faith-based and likely will oppose the couple’s move to be foster parents because Franklin is transgender. And the new law that goes into effect Sept. 1 would allow that.
Want more scare quotes? The Star-Telegram also feels compelled to put "the rights of conscience," the "Freedom to Serve Children Act" and "reasonable accommodations" inside quote marks. Would any of those phrases fail to make sense without quote marks? Or is the Star-Telegram intentionally casting doubt on the use of the terms (which would make them scare quotes)?
But just when it appears that the story will be a one-sided editorial, the paper actually allows the other side a voice. Among those quoted is Randy Daniels, vice president of program development for Baptist-affiliated Buckner Children & Family Services: