On Wednesday this week, an amendment that would have legalized discriminating against LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents was thankfully dropped from the fiscal year 2019 appropriations bill for the Departments of Education, Defense, Labor and Health & Human Services.
The Aderholt amendment, named for its author, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), was similar to recently passed anti-LGBTQ laws in Oklahoma and Kansas.
The provision would have given faith-based adoption and foster care agencies that receive taxpayer dollars the legal right to turn away prospective parents that didn’t “fit” within an agency’s religious doctrine.
The Family Equality Council, which worked to defeat the amendment, noted the legislation “also required states to allow foster care and adoption agencies to deny a broad range of child welfare services to foster children based on religious or moral beliefs, cutting their funding if they did not comply.”
This could have included not only LGBTQ people, but folks who might be single or of a different faith.
In addition to opposition in the House, 40 U.S. Senators led by Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon issued a letter to the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee expressing their disapproval of the provision saying it would never gain approval in the Senate.
The discriminatory legislation drew criticism from a wide range of civil rights organizations and child welfare groups. Voice for Adoption, Lambda Legal, PFLAG and the Family Equality Council were among over 300 groups that came together in their opposition to the amendment.
In a statement, The Human Rights Campaign praised Congress for defeating the provision.
“Fortunately, Congress has rejected this harmful effort to discriminate against LGBTQ people while disregarding what is in the best interests of children,” said HRC government affairs director David Stacy. “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.”