Anti-LGBTQ lawmakers across the country are attempting to allow state-funded child welfare agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples and others on the grounds of "religious freedom." According to the Desert News, there have been 140 "religious freedom" bills debated just this year, many of which would negatively impact the LGBTQ community. Two such bills restricting adoption rights have already passed, in Oklahoma and Kansas, with another pending in South Carolina.
Now, federal lawmakers are getting in on the action. This week, Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee added an anti-LGBT amendment onto an appropriations bill which would grant federally-funded welfare agencies the right to deny placement with same-sex adoptive and foster parents if an employee objects on the grounds of their religion.
"Any Member of Congress who supports this amendment is clearly stating that it is more important to them to discriminate than it is to find loving homes for children in need," said David Stacy, director of government affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, in a statement. "Congress should be focusing on ways to help children in the child welfare system find homes rather than creating needless obstacles for prospective parents, effectively shrinking the pool of qualified folks who want to provide children with a loving home. HRC urges Congress to reject this discriminatory amendment in the final appropriations bill."
Only one Republican, Scott Taylor of Virginia, voted against the Amendment. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has promised to wage an effort to prevent the amendment from being included in the final bill.
"House Democrats will fight this disgusting, deeply immoral and profoundly offensive effort with all our strength," said Pelosi. "There is no place for bigotry or discrimination in our foster and adoption systems – or in any part of our democracy."
While this baldfaced attempt to discriminate against LGBTQ prospective parents is horrific enough, these actions are all the more deplorable when considering the sheer amount of children who need homes. There are more than 400,000 children in the foster care system, 100,000 of who are waiting for permanent placement in a qualified home. Approximately 2 million LGBT Americans, meanwhile, are interested in adoption. If this amendment becomes law, it will reduce the number of qualified foster care parents, already in too short supply.
Want to take action? Look up your federal representatives here and demand they reject the inclusion of this anti-LGBTQ amendment in the appropriations bill.
Have you experienced discrimination as a potential gay adoptive or foster parent? We want to hear about it. Contact us at email@example.com and tell us about your experience.
And stay tuned to Gays With Kids as we continue to monitor and report on developments in anti-discrimination protections for adoptive LGBTQ parents, on both the state and federal level.