Legislation introduced to Congress would allow religious adoption and foster care providers to deny services to same-sex couples, single parents, and people of other faiths.
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) announced the introduction of The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014 last week. They said the legislation would ensure faith-based agencies could continue to provide services without violating their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.
The legislation was drafted in response to the growing legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States. Catholic agencies in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and the District of Columbia have shut down their adoption and foster care programs after being required by state law to provide services to same-sex couples.
Nineteen states now allow same-sex couples to legally marry.
“Faith-based charities and organizations do an amazing job of administering adoption, foster care and a host of other services. Limiting their work because someone might disagree with what they believe only ends up hurting the families they could be bringing together,” Enzi said in a statement.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has endorsed the bill. The three chairmen of the organization said the legislation would remedy the “unjust discrimination” that Catholic organization’s face in states that have legalized same-sex marriages.
But the Human Rights Campaign said the bill would have “immediate, random, broad and disastrous” consequences. The LGBT rights group also claimed the legislation would allow “rampant” discrimination.
“It’s increasingly clear that, post-Hobby Lobby, some in positions of power believe that religious freedom should only belong to a few. If this bill passes, an Evangelical straight couple, a single father, or a committed and loving gay and lesbian couple could find their path to adoption blocked for no reasonable reason other than naked discrimination,” Ellen Kahn of the Human Rights Campaign remarked.
“Taxpayer funds should not be used to discriminate, and too many children need loving families right now for our elected officials to be playing these kinds dangerous political games. This bill has nothing to do with faith, and it must be condemned.”
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