Tell Congress: Don’t Let Religion Keep Kids from Loving Homes
August 21, 2014
Right before Congress left for its summer recess, two lawmakers introduced a bill that would force the government to fund adoption and foster agencies that discriminate against families based on religion, keeping children in need from having a better life with loving families because of religious disapproval of nontraditional relationships.
The deceptively named Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014 (S. 2706, H.R. 5285), proposed by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), would allow adoption and foster agencies that receive government support to deny services to same-sex married couples, unmarried heterosexual and same-sex couples, and individuals who belong to other religions, or none at all — yet continue to receive taxpayer funds. Moreover, if this bill were passed, states that refuse to fund discriminatory religious agencies would lose 15 percent of their federal funding for child welfare services.
Proponents of this bill claim that to prohibit adoption and foster services from discriminating is itself discrimination. The truth is that while religious organizations have the right to set up and offer adoption and foster services, they do not have the right to offer government-funded services according to their particular religious convictions. Religious organizations are not compelled to accept public funds and, if they do, they must play by the same rules as other organizations that receive taxpayer money. If they wish to discriminate, they have to do so at their own expense. Religious convictions must never be subsidized by taxpayers.
At its core, this bill places the adoption agency’s religious doctrines over the best interests of the child and the rights of prospective parents. This is not only a violation of basic moral principles, but of empirical evidence, which shows children benefit most from being in a loving home with two parents, regardless of their sexual orientation or technical marital status.