In the UK, legislation was introduced that forced faith based adoption agencies to consider those in homosexual unions. This led to many adoption agencies either splitting from the Church, or simply closing down.
This Congress bill also covers fostering and again in the UK we recently had a case where Christian foster parents lost a high court battle, because they confirmed that they would refuse to tell a child that a “homosexual lifestyle” was acceptable.
Please bear in mind that these particular foster parents only wanted to provide temporary respite care for very young children.
The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (ECHC) who brought the case against these foster carers, were quoted as saying that children risked being “infected’ by Christian moral beliefs”.
A proposal in Congress would ban Catholic adoption agencies and undercut the needs of children by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of marital status or sexual orientation, two legislative experts say.
“This legislation would prohibit adoption agencies and foster care agencies, including religious adoption agencies and foster care agencies, from providing services in many cases,” warned Lori Windham, Senior Counsel with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “They would have to choose between following their religious beliefs and shutting down.”
Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, agreed.
“It would have the effect of either banning Christian adoption agencies or forbidding them from acting on their faith convictions and their moral convictions in terms of what is in the best interest of a child.”
Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) introduced the bill, titled “Every Child Deserves a Family Act,” on May 3. Its 52 co-sponsors in the House include Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Sen. Kristin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is expected to introduce companion legislation in the Senate.
The House bill would prohibit “discrimination in adoption or foster care placements” based on sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status of any prospective adoptive or foster parent, or the sexual orientation or gender identity of the child involved.
“The bill would affect any adoption or foster care agency that receives federal assistance or contracts with an entity that receives federal assistance.”
Stark told the Huffington Post he decided to introduce the measure because of the “homophobic opposition that has tried to decide that gay people aren’t suitable adoptive parents.”
He cited a “tremendous need” for adoptive parents in the U.S. and said there are “thousands of kids who would otherwise be stuck in foster care.”
But Sprigg said the bill would drive out “some of the most effective adoption agencies that there are.”
“Christian adoption agencies such as Catholic Charities have such an outstanding record. It would be sacrificing the interest of children to drive them out of the adoption business.”
In 2009 Catholic Charities completed 3,794 adoptions and provided adoption services to 43,982 clients. It provided foster care services for 18,344 children and adolescents, the Catholic Charities USA 2009 Annual Survey reports.
“The impact of the legislation would be to mean that fewer children will actually get homes,” said Windham. She said such proposals are part of a “growing conflict” and that supporters of religious freedom should oppose Stark’s bill.
Without a religious freedom exemption, the bill would make it “very difficult if not impossible” for religiously-affiliated agencies to operate, Windham said.
Similar laws have forced some agencies to close.