WASHINGTON, D.C. — (11-01-19) — The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is eager to reverse LGBT protections on adoptions and foster care. The proposed new rule announced on Friday, would allow recipients of federal grants from the health agency, including faith-based adoption agencies and foster care providers, to reject same-sex couples.

The rule would roll back an Obama-era regulation that went into effect days before the end of the Obama administration in 2017. The nondiscrimination language was inserted on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity to protect LGBTQ citizens when determining if they qualified for grants from the agency.

Donald Trump Attacks LGBTQ Citizens with Ban on adoption, foster care

Religious groups who argued that the Obama rule which protected LGBTQ citizens, violated their religious liberties.

But civil rights groups quickly reacted to the the move as another attack on the LGBTQ community. Especially considering the rule proposal was announced on the first day of National Adoption Month.

The proposed rule, which is still subject to a public comment period and will likely be challenged all the way to the Supreme Court, strips out language specifically barring against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in favor of prohibiting discrimination to potential grant recipients “to the extent doing so is prohibited by federal statute” or Supreme Court rulings.

Sexual orientation and gender identity are still not protected under federal anti-discrimination laws. However it a bill named “Equality Act”, passed by the House of Representatives this year that includes language protecting the LGBTQ community.

“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,” said Tony Perkins, leader of the Family Research Council.

Family Research Council Cheers HHS Proposal to Ban LGBT Protections Over Adoption, Foster Care

HHS cited a more streamlined approval process, arguing the new language “makes compliance more predictable and simpler” and relieves regulatory burdens, in accordance with an executive order issued by Trump early in his presidency.

However HRC disagrees….”The new rule “would permit discrimination against LGBTQ people for the benefit of a religious minorities,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “Women in programs related to foster care, adoption, HIV and STI prevention, youth homelessness, refugee resettlement, elder care programs and more, are subject to discrimination” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, whose committee approved the ‘Equality Act’ earlier this year, said in a statement that it was “unconscionable that the Trump Administration would allow discrimination with taxpayer funds in critical areas,” said Nadler, pointing to an instance in South Carolina earlier this year where a group that had received an HHS waiver turned away a same sex couple looking to become foster parents.

The GOP-controlled Senate has yet to take up the Equality Act, a move that is highly unlikely to take place under the leadership of Senator Mitch McConnell.

Article Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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