WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today Family Equality Council joins with members of the Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign in thanking a group of forty Senators who signed a letter opposing an amendment included in the House Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill that would allow taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption agencies to discriminate against qualified parents based on religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or family structure. The amendment would also allow agencies to deny a broad range of child welfare services to foster youth based on religious or moral beliefs. States that prohibit such service denials and discrimination would lose 15% of their child welfare funding, placing a staggering total of $1.04 billion of this funding at risk in the 44 states nationwide that provide non-discrimination protections for foster youth based on religion, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
The letter states:
If the appropriations bill includes this language, it will open the door to widespread discrimination against LGBTQ youth and prospective foster parents who are LGBTQ, of a different faith, religiously unaffiliated, or unmarried. We strongly encourage you to reject this language and instead, support federal laws and regulations barring discrimination, and protect the rights of all qualified parents who answer the call to foster and adopt children in foster care. These children deserve the welcoming and loving homes that so many parents of diverse backgrounds are yearning to provide.
In response to the letter, Denise Brogan-Kator, chief policy officer for Family Equality Council said: “We are so grateful that Senator Wyden and 39 other Senators stood against discrimination and on the side of foster youth to show that this harmful amendment cannot pass in the Senate. The amendment is harmful to the 20% of foster youth in the U.S. who identify as LGBTQ as they could be denied needed services and supportive care, and even possibly subjected to conversion therapy. It also harms all foster youth who would be deprived of loving, supportive foster and adoptive families just because they do not pass an agency’s religious litmus test. Moreover, these youth would be denied needed crisis, family reunification, and foster services due to punitive funding cuts in the amendment.”
Hundreds of child welfare, LGBTQ, and faith organizations have signed on to letters calling on the House to strip the harmful amendment from the House Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill, and on the Senate to not include the measure in any bill.
“We are heartened by the growing opposition to this measure,” said Julie Kruse, federal policy advocate at Family Equality Council. “A broad coalition of child welfare, LGBTQ, and faith organizations will continue to remain vigilant to ensure this discriminatory measure is not included in any final bill that makes it to the President’s desk.”
About Family Equality Council
Family Equality Council advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change. Family Equality Council believes every LGBTQ person should have the right and opportunity to form and sustain a loving family, regardless of who they are or where they live. Learn more at familyequality.org.
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Ed Harris, Chief Communications Officer
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