Pence Praises Proposed Adoption Rule Funding Faith-Based Groups Which Exclude LGBT Parents

by Sam Cronin

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday November 14, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday spoke at the 2019 National Adoption Month Celebration, where he indicated support for the new Trump administration rule which would permit faith-based organizations to receive federal funding while denying LGBT people the right to adopt.

The new rule, according to the New York Times, "would roll back a 2016 discrimination regulation instituted by the administration of President Barack Obama that included sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes."

"We will stand for the freedom of religion and we will stand with faith-based organizations to support adoption," Pence said, according to a White House transcript of his speech, describing the policy as a "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."

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere told The Hill that "LGBT people can still adopt and that will not change."

"The Administration is rolling back an Obama-era rule that was proposed in the 12 o'clock hour of the last administration that jeopardizes the ability of faith-based providers to continue serving their communities," Deere said.

"The Federal government should not be in the business of forcing child welfare providers to choose between helping children and their faith," he added.

Pence, in his speech, thanked and congratulated the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as well as praised the Trump administration for being what he called "the most pro-adoption administration in American history."

He went on to further praise the Trump administration rule, saying "I couldn't be more proud that, at President Trump's direction, and with the strong support of leaders across foster care, adoption, and our faith communities, we've taken decisive action. 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. We will stand for the freedom of religion and we will stand with faith-based organizations to support adoption."

NBC News reports that both the rule and Pence's reaction to it have received polarized responses. Religious groups are in favor of the regulatory rollback, while LGBTQ advocates such as GLAAD have called it discriminatory.

"Children should never be denied the opportunity to join a stable, loving family — even if that means the family is LGBTQ," Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, said. "Research has shown LGBTQ families provide the same kind of love, protection and support as other families, and no child should be denied that kind of environment."

Denise Brogan-Kator, chief policy officer at Family Equality, an advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families, said to the New York Times on Saturday that organizations which receive government funding, including foster care and adoption agencies, are "now free to discriminate" if they want to under the proposed rule.

The rule was praised by evangelical organizations, such as the Family Research Council, a group that supports socially conservative and Christian causes, which said on Friday that the news was "tremendous" for children, birth moms and adoptive families, according to the New York Times.

"Thanks to President Trump, charities will be free to care for needy children and operate according to their religious beliefs and the reality that children do best in a home with a married mom and dad," FRC president Tony Perkins said.

The proposed rule has not yet gone into effect, and as of writing this, the HHS has only issued a Notice of Nonenforcement of the Obama-era regulations. A blueprint for the proposed replacement was also issued.

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