Fury as Trump administration gives adoption agencies freedom to reject gay couples

President Donald Trump with Vice President Mike Pence

LGBT+ campaigners have condemned the Trump administration’s move to provide federal funding for adoption agencies that discriminate against gay couples.

New proposed guidance slipped out by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Friday seek to scrap a requirement that federal grant recipients, including adoption and foster care agencies, “must treat as valid the marriages of same-sex couples.”

At the same time, proposed changes would axe Obama-era non-discrimination rules, which state that people should not be denied HHS services “based on age, disability, sex, race, color, national origin, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”

The announcement has led to anger from equal rights groups and allies, who accused the Trump administration of trying to quietly unpick protections for LGBT+ people.

Children will be ‘denied loving homes and families’ under adoption rule

Tom Perez and Earl Fowlkes of the Democratic National Committee said: “The rules proposed by the Trump administration would roll back progress made under President Obama and pave the way for children to be denied loving homes and families.

“More than 100,000 children are awaiting adoption, and this move only reduces the number of families able to adopt them.”

Trump adoption rule: President Donald Trump with Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar

President Donald Trump with Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Sharon McGowan of LGBT+ legal non-profit Lambda Legal accused the Trump administration of acting  with “utter disregard for the rule of law” by moving to immediately axe provisions.

She said: “HHS is charged with protecting the health and wellbeing of all people, but its actions today demonstrate once again its complete disregard for its mission.

“Today’s proposed rule… puts at risk some of the most vulnerable members of our communities, including LGBT people who are poor or experiencing homelessness; LGBT seniors and LGBT youth in out-of-home care, including foster children in need of loving families, people living with HIV, and many others.”

Vulnerable and elderly LGBT+ people are ‘at risk of discrimination’

Alphonso David of Human Rights Campaign hit out at the “horrific” proposals, adding: “It is unconscionable that the Trump-Pence administration would prioritise advancing discrimination over the wellbeing of vulnerable people and expect taxpayers to foot the bill for their discriminatory policies.”

SAGE, which represents older LGBT+ people, added: “Every day, LGBT older people across the nation benefit from HHS-funded grant programs. Now their access to those programs is at risk.

“This latest announcement from the Trump administration is yet another salvo in the war the administration has conducted against the most basic rights of LGBT people.

“In this year that marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, enough is enough. The federal government should be championing non-discrimination protections, not advancing discrimination.”