New rule would let faith-based adoption groups exclude LGBTQ parents

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A new rule proposed by the Trump administration would allow faith-centered foster care and adoption organizations to keep receiving taxpayer funding even if their faith requires them to disqualify LGBTQ people and others from their receiving their services.

That is, the groups to not have to separate themselves from their beliefs to be a part of the U.S. government’s health and human services safety net. Obama-era legislation had forced that separation.

President Donald Trump has made addressing the concerns of evangelical voters a priority of his presidency, much as Democrats have made gays, lesbians and “transgender” people a foundational block of their own support.

The proposal drew immediate outcry from some Democratic lawmakers and LGBT advocates. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said the White House is “implement(ing) cruel and discriminatory policies, and wasting taxpayer dollars in its obsessive pursuit.”

The White House says the changed Department of Health and Human Services rule is needed to once again allow some nonprofits to help vulnerable people in their communities without violating their own religious beliefs. It would apply to a variety of organizations that receive federal support, such as those that get federal funding to help the homeless or prevent HIV.

The focus from supporters and critics on Nov. 1, however, was on foster care and adoption services. Under the proposal, HHS would revamp an Obama-era rule that included sexual orientation under anti-discrimination protections.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said that restricting the work of faith-based groups, as the Obama rule threatened to do, was unfair to people, “especially the children in need of those services.”

The Family Research Council, which believes homosexuality is “harmful” to “society at large,” celebrated the move and praised President Donald Trump for “his courage.”

“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,” said the organization’s president, Tony Perkins. “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.”

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