House Republicans Want to Make It Legal for Adoption Agencies to Refuse Same-Sex Couples

A new amendment could allow taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ couples on religious grounds.

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee has voted in favor of an amendment that would allow adoption agencies funded by taxpayer dollars to discriminate against LGBTQ couples.

The amendment, which appears in a new funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, would cut 15% of federal adoption funding for states that penalize adoption agencies that reject same-sex parents-to-be on religious grounds. It would also bar the federal government from refusing to work with those agencies.

On July 11, the House voted 29-23 in favor of the proposed amendment. Now, advocacy groups are urging Congress to nix the amendment from the final funding bill.

Currently, 10 states have similar laws—Alabama, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia. Half of those laws were ratified within the past two years.

According to the Every Child Deserves a Family campaign, some 21,000 youth were awaiting adoption in those 10 states. And a recent report from HRC shows that LGBTQ youth, many of whom were kicked out or abandoned for their sexuality or gender identity, make up a large portion of the foster care system in the U.S.

If this amendment does end up in the final draft of the bill, HRC says these issues could worsen.

“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,” wrote David Stacy, director of government affairs at HRC, 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.”

News of the amendment’s approval comes over a month after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of anti-LGBTQ baker Jack Phillips, who famously refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple on religious grounds.

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