- There are approximately 125,000 children waiting to be adopted from foster care in the United States.
- The Williams Institute of Law at U.C.L.A. reports that 114,000 same-sex couples in the U.S. are raising kids and many of them have become parents through adoption or fostering. Or surrogacy for that matter.
Seems like a match made in heaven? Not to some faith-based agencies who reject same-sex couples on the grounds of “religious liberty.” In 2018, evangelical agencies like New York State’s New Hope Family Services, refused to place children with same-sex couples and is suing New York in federal court. The agency claims it has a religious right under the First Amendment to turn away Gay & Lesbian couples.
This week, Trump proposed a rule that would allow religious foster care and adoption agencies to continue getting taxpayer funding even if they exclude minorities of those of different faiths. This rule from the Department of Health and Human Services says it is needed to remove barriers that prevent some non-profits from helping vulnerable people in their communities. The organizations that receive federal support, such as those receiving federal funding to help the homeless or prevent HIV, would be affected.
This statement from HHS reports that “the proposed rule represents the Trump Administration’s strong commitment to the rule of law: the Constitution, federal statues, and a Supreme Court decision. These require that the federal government not infringe on religious freedom in its operation of HHS grant programs and address the impact of regulatory actions on small entities. It guarantees religious liberty.
But at what cost to the people who want to give these children in limbo a permanent home? The HHS rule would roll back an Obama-era rule in 2016 that classifies sexual orientation gender identity, marital status as classes protected from discrimination.
According to Bloomberg News, the ACLU is suing the Trump Administration because it makes it easier for tax-funded adoption agencies to reject prospect parents on faith-based grounds. One such case is filed in Greenville, S.C. Federal Court against the Department of Health and Human Services and State of South Carolina. In January, S.C. was granted a waiver.
The ACLU is taking on this case because a family, was rejected by Miracle Hill Ministries, run by an Evangelical Christian organization, because the family didn’t practice the Protestant religion. The ACLU finds this rejection discriminatory. It prioritizes the views of some.
“Even if the ACLU wins,” says ACLU Deputy Director Leslie Cooper, “the sting and humiliation of discrimination” has already had its effect. Sarah Kate Ellis, President of GLAAD, states that research has shown that LGBTQ families provide same kind of love and protection as heterosexuals.
Hmmm. Doesn’t this remind you of the baker, the minister, the florist, or the photographer who didn’t want to provide services for same-sex couples in the name of religious liberty and states’ rights? Or is it discrimination?
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.