A proposed ruling by the Trump administration would allow adoption agencies to deny LGBTQ families the right to adopt based on religious grounds. The move also applies to other programs that receive federal grants. The ruling is a 180 turn from an Obama administration decision prohibiting agencies that received federal grants from discriminating based on sexual orientation and gender identity, protecting LGBT adoption rights.
During a recent event in Washington, DC held in honor of National Adoption Month (November),Vice President Mike Pence praised President Donald Trump’s ruling saying, “We’ve reversed the rule implemented in the closing days of the last administration that jeopardized the ability of faith-based providers to serve those in need by penalizing them for their deeply held religious beliefs.”
Pence went on to say how he “couldn’t be more proud” of Trump’s decision.
Others aren’t pleased with the ruling, deeply concerned about its effect on children currently waiting to be adopted.
Nicole Witt, Executive Director of The Adoption Consultancy in Florida, tells Parentology, there will be a big impact specifically on children in foster care.
“When you’re talking about smaller parts of the country, those LGBTQ families may not have access to an adoption agency that will work with them,” Witt says. “These children will have less of an opportunity to find a family.”
Government data shows currently more than 100,000 foster children are waiting to be adopted in the United States. Witt says the older the children get, the harder it is for them to get adopted.
A 2018 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) study found an estimated 114,000 same-sex couples were raising children in this country in 2016. The study also found 21% of same-sex couples are more likely to be raising adopted children compared to just 3% of different-sex couples. Witt says that research shows children do just as well with LGBTQ families and foster parents as they do with any other types of families.
The proposed ruling now moves into a 30-day public comment period. Witt says historically rulings don’t get changed during that time, so the administration can begin to enforce it once the public comment period is over.