Foster care and adoption agencies would have the freedom to turn away LGBT families on religious grounds under a new rule proposed by the Trump administration, according to The New York Times.
The Department of Health and Human Services released the proposal on Friday, the details of which revealed a reversal of former President Barack Obama’s protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.
Denise Brogan-Kator, chief policy officer at Family Equality, said that under the new rule, any foster care or adoption agency is “now free to discriminate” against LGBT families if they so wish.
The Times said the rule could make it into the Federal Register as early as this week, followed by a 30-day public comment period. At the end of that period, the rule would become final.
The Trump administration disputed charges that the rule will allow discrimination against the LGBT community, saying that it is merely a step toward reinstating religious freedom.
“The administration is rolling back an Obama-era rule that was proposed in the 12 o’clock hour of the last administration that jeopardizes the ability of faith-based providers to continue serving their communities,” the White House said in a statement. “The federal government should not be in the business of forcing child welfare providers to choose between helping children and their faith.”
“According to the Adoption Network, there are more than 400,000 children in the foster care system in the United States,” The Times noted. “More than 114,000 cannot be returned to their families and are waiting to be adopted.”
And according to a Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law estimate, “114,000 same-sex couples in 2016 were raising children in the United States,” and “same-sex couples with children were far more likely than different-sex couples with children to have an adopted child, 21.4 percent versus 3 percent,” per the report.