Children deserve our fiercest protection.
But a recently proposed law threatens a particularly vulnerable group: children in the foster and adoption care system.
Legislators in both houses of Congress proposed the “Equality Act” in March, and the U.S. House of Representatives passed this legislation in May. If this bill becomes a law, it would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes to laws prohibiting discrimination. While the law was put forth under the guise of “tolerance” or “inclusion,” in reality, it poses a serious risk to religious liberty.
And children waiting for loving homes will be collateral damage. How?
Because the “Equality Act” would decrease the number of organizations that are working to find children loving homes.
Take New Hope Family Services, for example.
New Hope is a faith-based pregnancy center and adoption agency that has been serving the community of Syracuse, New York for over 50 years. New Hope provides pregnancy tests, medical referrals, counseling, adoption planning, and even adoption placement. It counsels, advises, and walks with adoptive couples and birth parents alike to place children with loving families.
Its faith motivates it to serve its community – and it does so admirably. But its faith is the very reason that it has been targeted by the state government.
Because New Hope Family Services operates according to a biblical understanding of marriage – and strives to place children in a home with a married mom and dad – the state has decided to single out the adoption provider for punishment.
You see, New York has a state-wide law similar to the “Equality Act.” And state officials have claimed that New Hope must start placing children with same-sex couples, or else the State will revoke its authorization to place children for adoption. Essentially, the state has told New Hope to violate its beliefs or shut down its adoption services.
But that is an impossible choice for New Hope Family Services. So, it filed a lawsuit against the state.
When the government shuts down adoption and foster care providers such as New Hope simply for operating according to their beliefs, it’s the children that truly suffer.
Ultimately, this would mean fewer providers are working to find these children a home. And faith-based adoption providers excel at placing children who are often referred to as difficult to place – older children, sibling groups, and children with special needs.
With hundreds of thousands of children in foster care, why wouldn’t the government want to work with every organization available?
Unfortunately, government attacks on faith-based adoption and foster care providers are increasing.
Laws demanding that these organizations act against their beliefs have already forced Catholic Charities to stop their foster care and adoption ministries in Boston; Washington, D.C.; Illinois; San Francisco; and Buffalo. And the results are disheartening.
In Illinois, the state’s refusal to allow Catholic Charities to operate consistent with its beliefs resulted in that organization shutting its doors, which displaced more than 2,000 children.
And it’s not only the children who are harmed. Families and birth mothers who want to partner with an organization that shares their beliefs will no longer have that option.
These children and families deserve better than that. But it won’t happen if the “Equality Act” is passed.