Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech, on November 12, at a Department of Health and Human Services event in Washington, D.C. held in honor of National Adoption Month, in which he praised a new proposed rule by the Trump administration allowing taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to refuse to place children in LGBTQ homes.
Pence said the administration “understand[s] the role that communities of faith play in adoption,” pledging to continue siding with those who invoke religious objections to treating LGBTQ people equally.
“And I couldn’t be more proud that, at President Trump’s direction, and with the strong support of leaders across foster care, adoption, and our faith communities, we’ve taken decisive action,” he continued.
“We’ve reversed the rule implemented in the closing days of the last administration that jeopardized the ability of faith-based providers to serve those in need by penalizing them for their deeply held religious beliefs. We will stand for the freedom of religion and we will stand with faith-based organizations to support adoption.”
“And I want to commend Secretary Azar and the team here at HHS for promulgating the new rule that respects the freedom of religion of every American, but also recognizes the vital role that faith-based organizations play in adoption in this country,” he added.
The vice president went on to say “four out of five families have pointed to faith and church support as a factor in successful fostering,” adding that “countless families rely on their faith communities as they adopt and incorporate children into their lives.”
“And I’ll make you one more promise: Child welfare providers will never be forced to choose between their faith and serving those in need—not on our watch,” he continued.
The Obama-era policy, implemented in December 2016, prohibits federal grantees from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Rolling those protections back would impact not only protocol in adoption and foster care agencies, but also health clinics, substance use recovery programs, and agencies dealing in services for those experiencing homelessness.
“The Federal government should not be in the business of forcing child welfare providers to choose between helping children and their faith,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere told the Washington Blade earlier this month when the rule was unveiled.
“Trump and Pence relentlessly marginalize LGBTQ people and attempt to erase our existence,” said HRC President Alphonso David in a statement.
“Their disturbing worldview extends into the adoption and foster care systems, where they support giving federally-funded foster and adoption agencies a license to discriminate against LGBTQ children and prospective parents, religious minorities and other vulnerable groups. LGBTQ youth are tragically overrepresented in foster care, and this White House continues to exacerbate the marginalization, harassment and discrimination that LGBTQ youth in foster care and families face.”