No, a Proposed House Amendment Wouldn’t Ban Same-Sex Couples From Adopting—It’s Even Worse Than That
Under the proposed amendment, states would effectively be unable to prohibit religiously affiliated child-welfare agencies from denying services to millions of people.
On Wednesday, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee voted to add an amendment to an appropriations bill that included a provision permitting licensed child-welfare agencies to discriminate on the basis of religion. The amendment drew immediate ire from the LGBTQ community, as many organizations framed the legislation as “barring gay and lesbian couples from adopting.”
That’s not quite accurate: The amendment, in and of itself, does not ban adoption or fostering by same-sex couples. At the same time, the actual implications of this amendment are far more widespread than those headlines imply. It could affect millions of families, youth, and parents across the country—particularly low-income lesbian and bisexual mothers of color.
The amendment, proposed by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) would prohibit federal, state, or local agencies from taking any action against a child-welfare organization, agency, or staff member who “decline(s) to provide, facilitate, or refer for a child welfare services that conflicts with . . . the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.” The double negatives are confusing. More clearly: This bill would allow the federal Department of Health and Human Services to dock states up to 15 percent of their foster-care funding if they prevent discrimination in foster care or adoption services.
Under the proposed amendment, states would effectively be unable to prohibit religiously affiliated child-welfare agencies from denying services to: LGBTQ children, families headed by LGBTQ people, families headed by divorced parents, and interfaith families. The agencies could, as reflected by the headlines, also turn away potential adoptive and foster parents who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, single, or myriad other configurations that do not conform to the agency’s religious or moral convictions.
Sign the petition: Block anti-LGBTQ bigotry
The petition to Congress reads:
"Do not use tax dollars to fund discrimination against LGBTQ people. Block the Aderholt Amendment and any other extremist attempts to federally sanction bigotry and hate."