The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will introduce a new federal rule that would allow faith-based adoption and foster care providers to receive federal money without compromising their sincerely held religious beliefs on marriage by forcing them to place foster children with same-sex or unmarried couples.
The new federal rule details that faith-based groups only need to adhere to nondiscrimination provisions passed by Congress, not any previous agency regulations. In 2016, the Obama administration added sexual orientation language to an HHS rule, forcing faith-based groups to choose between their biblical beliefs on marriage or receiving federal money to serve their communities. Currently, if faith-based groups want to apply for federal funds, they must request a waiver from the Obama rule. The Trump administration rule will now make that regulation null and void.
Since the new rule would apply to only laws passed by Congress, that means faith-based groups would have to comply with the three main federal laws on equality: the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. All of them protect citizens against religious discrimination but none of them mention sexual orientation.
At the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this year in Washington, D.C., President Trump said, “My administration is working to ensure that faith-based adoption agencies are able to help vulnerable children find their forever families while following their deeply held beliefs.”
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “This is a great decision in favor of religious freedom and the well-being of children. There is crisis in America – 443,000 children are in foster care and about 100,000 are waiting to be adopted. For the last five years, the foster care crisis has continued to get worse. These children are already at-risk and do not need to be placed in potentially harmful situations, and faith-based agencies should not be punished for protecting them,” said Staver.