Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, has blasted an attempt by House Republicans to permit discrimination against gay prospective parents.
Congressional Republicans passed an amendment on Wednesday that would permit adoption providers to discriminate against same-sex couples.
House Republicans on the Appropriations Committee voted in favour of the amendment to a funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.
Introduced by GOP Rep. Robert Aderholt, it would allow taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to deny same-sex couples the ability to adopt a child based on ‘religious objections.’
Pelosi slammed the amendment as a sickening ‘new low’ for congressional Republicans, adding that it was ‘morally bankrupt.’
She said: “House Republicans chose to sacrifice the well-being of little children to push a bigoted, anti-LGBTQ agenda, potentially denying tens of thousands of vulnerable children the opportunity to find a loving and safe home.
““House Democrats will fight this disgusting, deeply immoral and profoundly offensive effort with all our strength. There is no place for bigotry or discrimination in our foster and adoption systems – or in any part of our democracy.”
The amendment was attached to the bill in committee stage by 29-23 vote, with only Rep Scott Taylor breaking from the the Republican party line to oppose it.
The finance bill now has to pass through Congress – and if the amendment is enacted, it would allow religious organisations to turn away “qualified prospective parents” on the basis of religious belief.
Human rights groups have also criticised the proposal.
David Stacy from the Human Rights Campaign, said: “Any Member of Congress who supports this amendment is clearly stating that it is more important to them to discriminate than it is to find loving homes for children in need.”
He added: “Congress should be focusing on ways to help children in the child welfare system find homes rather than creating needless obstacles for prospective parents, effectively shrinking the pool of qualified folks who want to provide children with a loving home.”
A similar proposal was advanced last month in South Carolina, a Republican state.
The state legislature put forward a similar amendment on an appropriations bill, which was then sent to the state Governor Henry McAster.