Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday praised a proposed Trump administration rule that would allow taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to refuse child placement in LGBTQ homes, reports the Washington Blade.
In a speech intended to honor National Adoption Month at the Department of Health & Human Services in D.C., Pence told the audience that the Trump administration “understand[s] the role that communities of faith play in adoption,” while invoking the rule unveiled late last month.
“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 said. “We will stand for the freedom of religion and we will stand with faith-based organizations to support adoption.”
Pence said he “couldn’t be more proud” of the rule, which he said was taken at President Trump’s direction with “decisive action.”
“And I want to commend Secretary Azar and the team here at HHS for promulgating the new rule that respects the freedom of religion of every American, but also recognizes the vital role that faith-based organizations play in adoption in this country,” Pence added.
Pence then said that a majority of families point to faith and church support as factors in successful fostering and “countless families rely on their faith communities as they adopt and incorporate children into their lives.”
“And I’ll make you one more promise: Child welfare providers will never be forced to choose between their faith and serving those in need — not on our watch,” Pence concluded.
The Blade notes:
The proposed HHS rule seeks to reverse an Obama-era regulation implemented in December 2016, just before the start of the Trump administration, barring recipients of federal grants from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Although faith-based adoption agencies, many of which have been clamoring for a change in the rule suing the U.S. government on the basis it violates freedom of religion, are a prominent example of grantee that would be able to discriminate under the rule change, LGBT advocates said the proposal would have far-reaching implications, including health care faculties that receive federal funds.
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg recently condemned the proposal as a “huge step backwards.”
Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement the Trump administration is attacking LGBTQ families as Pence recognizes National Adoption Month.
“Trump and Pence relentlessly marginalize LGBTQ people and attempt to erase our existence,” David said. “Their disturbing worldview extends into the adoption and foster care systems, where they support giving federally-funded foster and adoption agencies a license to discriminate against LGBTQ children and prospective parents, religious minorities and other vulnerable groups.”