Congress rejects bill giving adoption agencies a ‘license to discriminate’

States can still pass discriminatory laws, however | Photo: Unsplash/Randy Rooibaatjie

The United States Congress is sending a bill to President Trump’s desk — without an amendment giving adoption agencies the right to turn away potential parents for religious reasons.

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In July, Republicans approved the Aderholt Amendment as an addition to the FY 2019 Labor, HHS & Education Appropriations bill.

Introduced by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), the amendment would have given child welfare and adoption agencies a ‘license to discriminate’ based on religious objections.

In advocating for his amendment, Aderholt said he introduced it because he believed religious organizations were not being allowed to operate as child welfare agencies ‘simply because these organizations, based on religious conviction, choose not to place children with same-sex couples’.

This could have also affected people like single mothers or divorced individuals.

Ultimately, however, both House and Senate negotiators of the bill decided to drop the amendment.

This would have harmed LGBTI people who wanted to be parents

Two gay dads, Jamie McGonnigal and Sean Carlson, who are adoptive parents, began a petition against the amendment in late July. It garnered over 32,500 signatures.

‘I challenge Rep. Aderholt to come to sit across from us at our dinner table and tell us that we aren’t qualified to be parents,’ Carlson said.

Some states, like Oklahoma, have passed bills giving child welfare agencies the right to discriminate. There are no federal laws regarding this matter.

‘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,’ said Human Rights Campaign Government Affairs Director David Stacy.

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