Trump Administration Proposes Rule Protecting Faith-Based Adoption Agencies

The Trump administration has always been an advocate for religious liberty, and on Friday they reaffirmed that commitment by proposing rolling back an Obama-era rule that denied federal funding to foster care and adoption groups that exclude LGBT parents—which would be a huge win for faith-based organizations and the First Amendment.

The White House says the rule from the Department of Health and Human Services is needed to remove barriers that prevent some nonprofits from helping vulnerable people in their communities. It would apply to a broad range of organizations that receive federal support, such as those that get federal funding to help the homeless or prevent HIV. But the focus from supporters and detractors Friday was on foster care and adoption services.

Under the proposed rule, HHS would redo an Obama-era rule that included sexual orientation as a protected trait under anti-discrimination protections.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said that restricting the work of faith-based organizations, as the Obama rule threatened to do, was unfair and serves no one, “especially the children in need of those services.”

The Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group, said charities would no longer have to choose between “abandoning their faith or abandoning homeless children.”

“Thanks to President Trump, charities will be free to care for needy children and operate according to their religious beliefs and the reality that children do best in a home with a married mom and dad,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

While the rule change wouldn't prevent these agencies from including LGBT parents if they want to, there was still plenty of outrage from the left. “It is outrageous that the Trump administration would mark the start of National Adoption Month by announcing a rule to further limit the pool of loving homes available to America’s 440,000 foster children,” said Julie Kruse, of Family Equality. “The American public overwhelmingly opposes allowing taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies to turn away qualified parents simply because they are in a same-sex relationship.”

Studies on the issue of same-sex parenting have shown that children do best with a mother and a father in the household. A large study published in 2014 found that children of same-sex couples are significantly more likely to experience emotional problems.