Some states already require adoption and foster care agencies to give children to gay couples. That includes Christian ministries, which, in many cases are shutting down their operations rather than compromise their convictions. Now a proposed law before the Senate would make nondiscrimination against gay adoptions, including by religious agencies, a national policy:
Adoption and traditional marriage proponents said legislation introduced Monday by Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) to prohibit adoption agencies from barring homosexual couples from adopting a child would hinder religious agencies right to religious freedom and lessen the pool of foster families.
Gillibrand’s bill, Every Child Deserves a Family Act, enables states to require adoption agencies to allow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples to foster or adopt children in order to receive federal assistance.
“By removing all barriers for LGBT families to serve as foster parents, New York State has increased its foster parent pool by 128,000 prospective parents. This legislation would open thousands of new foster and adoptive homes to children ensuring they are raised in loving families,” she said in statement announcing the bill.
Gillibrand and fellow bill supporters praise the act for seeking to place the estimated 400,000 children currently in the U.S. foster care system in homes.
But Peter Breen, executive director of the Thomas More Society Pro-life Law Center, told The Christian Post the law would lessen the pool of foster families because it would penalize faith-based agencies that recruit Christian families.
Breen is currently representing Catholic Charities of Illinois. The adoption agency has been caring for and placing children in homes since 1921 – long before the state began offering adoption services in 1969.
Breen said that Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is using the recently passed Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act to “exclude religious entities that object to civil unions.”
Catholic Charities does not allow cohabitating couples – both heterosexual and homosexual-to adopt through its service due its religious beliefs. The state’s decision to cancel contracts with Catholic Charities may cause the agency to close its door to foster care in the state.
Breen said most faith-based foster care groups are reliant on state and federal funds.
If Gillibrand’s law were to pass, Breen said, it would “effectively bar any religious group that [has] sincerely-held religious beliefs about the sanctity of marriage … it would bar them from foster care.”