Republicans Introduce Joint Bill To Legalize Anti-LGBT Discrimination By Adoption Agencies Nationwide
If federal lawmakers want to show they care about children and families, there’s perhaps no better opportunity in the near term than by passing the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (CWPIA). Pending in the House as H.R. 1881 (introduced by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Penn.)), and in the Senate as S. 811 (introduced by Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.)), CWPIA would ensure that the maximum number of adoption providers remain in the marketplace and are able to serve America’s overloaded and burdened foster-care systems.
As FRC’s Travis Weber recently pointed out in an analysis of the topic, CWPIA is a win-win solution to our current foster-care dynamic. Protecting the freedom of providers to operate according to their beliefs ensures the maximum number of providers remain open for business and able to serve the ever-present waiting list of children looking for families to take them in. It also ensures the maximum number of potential adoptive families looking for children.
Charitable organizations, as Travis observes, make massive financial contributions to our nation’s public welfare — often without recognition or credit. These organizations include adoption providers. Yet these same providers are facing threats to their existence. They have already been forced out of Massachusetts, Illinois, the District of Columbia, and San Francisco due to their beliefs, and some were just suspended in Philadelphia. As they seek to follow their beliefs while continuing to serve the public good, the threat to them has continued to metastasize in other states, with lawsuits and public pressure opposing their freedom to operate according to their beliefs.
From the text of the bill:
This bill prohibits the federal government, and any state or local government that receives federal funding for any program that provides child welfare services under part B (Child and Family Services) or part E (Foster Care and Adoption Assistance) of title IV of the Social Security Act (SSAct), from discriminating or taking an adverse action against a child welfare service provider that declines to provide, facilitate, or refer for a child welfare service that conflicts with the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.
The Department of Health and Human Services must withhold 15% of the federal funds that a state or local government receives for such programs if the state or local government violates this bill. An aggrieved child welfare service provider may assert such an adverse action violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and to obtain all appropriate relief (including declaratory relief, injunctive relief, compensatory damages, and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs).