An amendment to a funding bill that
seeks to allow adoption agencies to refuse gay and lesbian couples
cleared a House committee on Wednesday.
The amendment was introduced by
Representative Robert Aderholt, a Republican from Alabama. It would
prohibit federal, state and local governments from denying funds to
adoption agencies that have “declined or will decline to provide,
facilitate or refer for a child welfare service that conflicts with …
the provider's sincerely held religious beliefs of convictions.”
State and local governments that
violate the law would be penalized with a fifteen percent cut in
According to the
Blade, the House Appropriations Committee approved the
amendment on a 29-23 party line as part of funding legislation for
the Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services and Education.
Representative Scott Taylor of Virginia joined Democrats on the panel
in voting against the amendment.
Similar laws have been enacted in
several states, including Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, North
Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma and Kansas.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, criticized the amendment and
called on lawmakers not to support it.
“Any Member of Congress who supports
this amendment is clearly stating that it is more important to them
to discriminate than it is to find loving homes for children in
need,” said David Stacy, director of government affairs at the
Human Rights Campaign. “Congress should be focusing on ways to help
children in the child welfare system find homes rather than creating
needless obstacles for prospective parents, effectively shrinking the
pool of qualified folks who want to provide children with a loving
home. HRC urges Congress to reject this discriminatory amendment in
the final appropriations bill.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a
Democrat from California, called the proposal “disgusting.”
“House Democrats will fight this
disgusting, deeply immoral and profoundly offensive bill with all our
strength,” Pelosi said in a statement. “There is no place for
bigotry or discrimination in our foster and adoption systems – or
in any part of our democracy.”