According to Metro Weekly, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment Wednesday allowing taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to potentially discriminate against same-sex families on the basis of religious freedom, denying them the right to adopt.
The amendment is part of a funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health, and Human Services and could potentially cut 15 percent of adoption funding to states that penalize agencies that refuse to place children with families who they feel conflict with their religious beliefs. Additionally, the amendment bans the government from refusing work with discriminatory adoption agencies.
The amendment will not just affect same-sex or LGBTQ couples and families, but could also impact “heterosexual couples and single parents who could potentially be discriminated against based on their religion, disability, political beliefs, whether they’ve ever been divorced, or any other characteristic or trait that an agency employee could deem objectionable.”
The amendment passed 29-23 and was first introduced and sponsored by Republican Representative Robert Aderholt. The amendment received bipartisan support and only one Republican in the House Appropriations Committee voted against it.
The president of strategy at the campaign Freedom for All Americans, Kasey Suffredini, released a statement this week in opposition of the amendment, saying, “Taxpayer dollars should never be used to promote discrimination against any American, LGBTQ or otherwise. It’s shocking to see some lawmakers willing to hurt not only LGBTQ Americans, but vulnerable children waiting for forever homes. This is just the latest example that discrimination against LGBTQ Americans is real, urgent, and a detriment to all Americans — and should be cured by federal, comprehensive protections as soon as possible.”
The director of government affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, David Stacy, also spoke out against the House Appropriations Committee’s new measure, claiming, “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.”
Like Stacy, many opponents of the amendment, feel it places additional and unnecessary boundaries on those seeking to adopt, especially since there is already a shortage of qualified parents looking to adopt in the first place.
“Congress should be focusing on ways to help children in the child welfare system find homes,” Stacy continued, “rather than creating needless obstacles for prospective parents, effectively shrinking the pool of qualified folks who want to provide children with a loving home.”