The Trump administration is proposing a new rule that would no longer force faith-based adoption agencies that receive federal grants from the Department of Health and Human Services to process adoptions to same-sex couples.
The rule seeks to wipe away an Obama-era regulation that said adoption agencies getting federal grants could not consider sexual orientation or gender identity as factors in approving potential adoptive parents.
The proposed rule was published Friday and could take effect in 30 days if there are no legal challenges.
“HHS is committed to fully enforcing the civil rights laws passed by Congress. The proposed rule would better align its grants regulations with federal statutes, eliminating the regulatory burden, including the burden on the free exercise of religion,” HHS said in a statement. Federal anti-discrimination laws do not touch upon sexual orientation and gender identity.
“HHS is affirming that it will comply with all applicable Supreme Court decisions in administering its grants programs,” the statement said but noted that the Obama-era rule violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Constitution and also went beyond the department’s authority.
Some cheered the Trump administration’s proposal.
“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. Under the proposed HHS rule, faith-based adoption providers will no longer have to choose between abandoning their faith or abandoning homeless children because the government disapproves of their views on marriage,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement.
“Faith-based adoption services are motivated by their faith to perform a public service, one that is woefully undersupplied. Discriminating against them for the very reason that motivates them to perform this irreplaceable service is the height of folly.
“Overextended, financially-strapped social service government agencies are unable to fill the void left by shuttered faith-based charities.
We commend President Trump for his courage to stand up for vulnerable children, adoptive families, and those who serve them. This is a president who acknowledges that faith in God is central to the mission of faith-based adoption providers and the well-being of communities,” Perkins said.
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