House Appropriations Committee Passes Dangerous Amendment Granting Child Welfare Agencies a License to Discriminate

By Adam Polaski • July 11, 2018 • 1:19 pm

Today, July 11, the Appropriations Committee in the United States House of Representatives adopted an amendment to a Labor-HHS appropriations bill granting a shameful license to discriminate to taxpayer-funded child welfare agencies that wish to refuse to place children with adoptive parents for any number of religious reasons, including the parents’ LGBTQ identity.

The amendment is very similar to anti-LGBTQ laws that have been passed in numerous states, including most recently in Kansas and Oklahoma. Tomorrow, a federal court holds a hearing in the ACLU’s legal challenge to an exclusionary “license to discriminate” law in Michigan, brought by a same-sex couple that has been turned away by adoption agencies because of their sexual orientation.

The amendment passed by a vote of 29-23.

Ten states have laws on the books that allow child welfare agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ youth and families – Alabama, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia. Fives of those bills were passed in 2017 or 2018.

According to data from the Every Child Deserves a Family campaign, more than 21,000 youth were awaiting adoption in states with these discriminatory laws on the books in 2015. Same-sex couples are exponentially more likely to be interested in adopting children or serving as foster parents. Policies like today’s shameful anti-LGBTQ amendment stands only to allow more agencies to turn away capable, loving parents – and at the end of the day, that harms children and makes it harder for more kids to be placed in loving homes.

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