Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee inserted a poison-pill amendment into the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Bill.
If passed, this amendment would require states to allow taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption providers to discriminate on the basis of their religion and cut child welfare funding for states that refuse to comply.
It is difficult to even convey how terrible this is—and sadly, there is a substantial chance this bill could pass.
This amendment would require states to allow adoption and foster care placement agencies to discriminate against atheists and nonbelievers, religious minorities, single parents, LGBTQ people, or any other group of people they disfavor.
This kind of discrimination reduces the number of potential adoptive parents, making children in these systems less likely to find loving, permanent homes. Even worse, states that refuse to go along and allow religious discrimination will see their child welfare funding cut, which would only harm the vulnerable young people in the foster system.
This hateful provision could be used to allow foster parents to deny medical services or counseling to young people if it conflicts with their religious beliefs, agencies could refuse to reunite families if the parents are the “wrong” religion, or providers could kick LGBTQ children out of shelters. And they could do all this while receiving your tax dollars!
If this amendment is allowed to stand, this will be the first in a long line of federal attacks on religious equality at the state level.
This horrific agenda is being pushed by Christian nationalists, the Catholic Church, and organizations like the Heritage Foundation who want government funding for their so-called “charities” while they refuse to provide services for people they dislike. Only 10 states have passed laws adopting the twisted vision of “religious liberty” this bill espouses. But now they’re trying to use a must-pass appropriations bill to force it on the rest of us.
The majority of Americans oppose using religion as an excuse to discriminate. Together, we can stop this attack on religious equality.
Legal & Policy Director