Republicans in Congress push amendment to permit discrimination against gay prospective parents


Congressional Republicans have passed an amendment that would permit adoption providers to discriminate against same-sex couples.

House Republicans on the Appropriations Committee voted in favour of the amendment to a funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.

The provision introduced by GOP Rep. Robert Aderholt, would grant a broad license to taxpayer-funded adoption agencies, allowing them to deny same-sex couples the ability to adopt a child based on religious objections.

A baby and parent (Creative Commons)

The amendment was attached to the bill in the committee by a vote of 29-23 along party lines. Rep.Scott Taylor was the only Republican who broke with the party line to vote against the amendment.

Politicians in Congress often attempt to use amendments to crucial spending bills as a way to force items onto the political agenda.

If the amendment remains attached to the finance bill as it passes through Congress, the bill would permit child welfare placing to “turn away qualified prospective parents based on the agency’s religious beliefs.”

The decision has been slammed by Democrats and LGBT groups.

Vice President Mike Pence pictured with the amendment’s author Rep. Robert Aderholt (Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty)

Democratic National Committee LGBTQ Media Director Lucas Acosta said: “House Republicans are pandering t0 their far-right base at the expense of LGBTQ people and children in need of a home.

“Rather than focusing on empowering families or uniting children with their parents, Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee voted to give child welfare agencies a license to discriminate against qualified potential parents.

“Across the country, LGBTQ candidates are running for office and taking a stand against the Trump-GOP agenda, which seeks to roll back the progress we have made. In November, voters will stand together in the face of this bigotry and hate and elect Democrats up and down the ticket.”

David Stacy, director of government affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, said: “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.

“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.”

Vice President Mike Pence pictured with the amendment’s author Rep. Robert Aderholt (Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty)

Similar provisions have been advanced in a number of Republican-controlled states.

Last month the South Carolina State legislature advanced an appropriations bill with a similar measure allowing publicly-funded adoption agencies to discriminate against a range of prospective parents, including same-sex couples, single mothers and interfaith couples.

The bill was sent to the desk of the state’s Governor Henry McMaster, who was urged to veto the legislation.