On Wednesday, July 11, 2018, the House Appropriations Committee voted in favor of an amendment that would effectively give the right to state-funded adoption agencies to deny LGBTQ individuals from adopting.
The party line, 29 to 23, vote was reported on by lgbtqnation.com. The article gives insight into the possible implications of the bill amendment and how it can affect more than just the LGBTQ community on the premise of religious freedom.
The amendment appears on a funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. If it remains in the final bill, the amendment would cut 15% of federal adoption funding to states and localities that penalize adoption agencies that refuse to place children in families that conflict with the agency’s “sincerely held religious beliefs or convictions.”
The amendment also bars the federal government from refusing to work with adoption agencies that discriminate.
In addition to LGBTQ people and same-sex couples, the amendment would also impact interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced, or other qualified parents to whom an agency could have an objection.
A big barrier to placing children with families is a lack of qualified prospective parents; having the government give contractors and subcontractors a license to discriminate, thereby limiting the pool of prospective parents for no legitimate reason, is unconscionable and an unacceptable use of taxpayer dollars.
It’s as if it isn’t bad enough that some states already discriminate against LGBTQ adoption, this amendment would effectively make it legal for adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals on a national level.
Nine states already have laws on the books that allow child welfare agencies receiving taxpayer funding to discriminate against LGBTQ youth and families – Alabama, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia. Five of those bills have passed in the last two years. According to data from the Family Equality Council’s Every Child Deserves a Family campaign, more than 21,000 youth were awaiting adoption in these states.