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Reports: Congressional Republicans Slip Anti-LGBTQ Family Language into Appropriations Bill

by Kilian Melloy
Thursday Jul 12, 2018

A number of states have laws on the books barring gay and lesbian prospective parents from adopting children if the agencies handing placements of children in need of homes have (or say they have) anti-LGBTQ convictions. Now, Buzzfeed reports, House Republicans have slipped discriminatory language into an appropriations bill that would extend federal protections to biased adoption agencies.

The amendment, which was passed out of committee on July 11, is broadly worded and could affect more than same-sex families. Designed to shield agencies that cite "sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions," the amendment could also impact straight couples in which one or both partners have had a previous marriage that ended in divorce.

"Further, the measure would punish LGBT-friendly states," Buzzfeed reported, detailing how states that attempt to protect same-sex couples with stringently enforced anti-discrimination laws could lose up to 15% of their funding for adoption services. Because the amendment will face a vote as part of a larger package of provisions, including "health, education, and labor priorities," Buzzfeed said, "Opponents would need to vote against the entire package to kill the amendment."

The amendment was introduced by a Republican from Alabama, Robert Aderholt, the Buzzfeed report noted.

"Nine states have laws on the books that allow child welfare agencies receiving taxpayer funding to discriminate against LGBTQ youth and families - Alabama, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia," reported equality advocacy group Freedom for All Americans. "According to data from the Every Child Deserves a Family campaign, more than 21,000 youth were awaiting adoption in states with these discriminatory laws on the books in 2015."

Freedom for All Americans pointed out that such laws only make it harder for children in need to find loving, stable homes, and went on to note that five such state-wide laws have passed since the 2016 elections.

Buzzfeed noted that the discriminatory provision could still be voted down "on the House floor or rejected by the Senate."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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