The U.S. House has rejected an
amendment to a funding bill that sought to allow adoption agencies to
refuse gay and lesbian couples.
Introduced by Representative Robert
Aderholt, a Republican from Alabama, the amendment was attached to
the spending package in July. 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 or moral convictions.” State and
local governments that violate the law would be penalized with a
fifteen percent cut in federal funding.
The amendment was stripped out of the
legislation during the conference committee process, according to the
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
On Wednesday, the House voted 361-61 in
favor of the spending package and sent the legislation to President
Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it. Passage means a government
shutdown near Election Day will be averted.
Ian Thompson of the ACLU said that the
amendment would have hurt children.
This amendment would have placed the
religious and moral beliefs of certain taxpayer-funded child welfare
service providers above the best interests of the children in their
care,” Thompson said in a statement. “The only determination that
should govern the actions of these providers is what is in the best
interests of the child. No family should ever be told they are not
qualified to serve as foster or adoptive parents because they are
LGBTQ or the ‘wrong’ religion. The successful defeat of the
Aderholt Amendment sends a clear message: There is no place for
taxpayer-funded discrimination in the child welfare system.”
Laws allowing adoption agencies to
refuse gay couples have been enacted in several states, including
Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas,
Virginia, Oklahoma and Kansas.