Should gay couples be allowed to adopt a child from foster care?
For some in Congress, the answer is no. Two congressional Republicans have introduced the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, which is aimed as an effort to protect adoption and foster care providers from an “anti-faith bias.”
But according to critics, the bill, which was introduced to Congress in late July, is really aimed at nullifying “state-level laws that require child welfare agencies to let gay couples adopt children.”
Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) said that faith-based providers helping children should not be prevented from providing welfare because of their faith.
“The legislation will help make sure faith-based providers and individuals can continue to work alongside other agencies and organizations and that adoptive and foster parents have access to providers of their choice,” Enzi said in a release.
Critics responded that it hasn’t been the state shutting down these faith-based providers, but the providers themselves closing shop rather than allowing gays to adopt or foster children.
The bill, which is unlikely to pass according to Slate, comes nearly five years after Catholic Charities ended its city contract to provide foster care and adoption services for D.C. residents following refusal to comply with rules requiring that it place children with same-sex couples.
According to the All Children-All Families campaign, an estimated 2 million LGBT adults are interested in adoption in the US while about 400,000 children are in the foster care system.
However, the LGBT community is “often an untapped resource” when searching for homes for children in foster care. The All Children – All Families campaign argues that agencies nationwide can increase their prospective foster and adoptive parent pools by welcoming and recruiting the LGBT community.
New Jersey is a recognized leader in supporting and serving LGBT families, according to the Human Rights Campaign. The state has never had a policy of denying adoption of children based on sexual orientation and is one of 16 states that definitively allow joint gay adoptions.