WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FY19 appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, HHS, Education, and Defense. The final version of the bill, already passed by the Senate, removes the “Aderholt Amendment” — language that was added to the bill in the House appropriations committee in July that would have required states to allow taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption agencies to turn away qualified parents based on religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or family structure.
Denise Brogan-Kator, chief policy officer for Family Equality Council, said today: “Over 300 child welfare, civil rights and faith organizations under the umbrella of the Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign successfully mobilized to press Congress to say no to depriving foster children of loving homes and needed services. The Aderholt amendment had broken the cardinal rule of child welfare — that the needs of children should come first.”
The Aderholt Amendment also required states to allow foster care and adoption agencies to deny a broad range of child welfare services to foster children based on religious or moral beliefs, cutting their funding if they did not comply. The 44 states that prohibit such service denials and discrimination would have stood to lose up to 15% of their child welfare funding, placing a staggering total of $1.04 billion of this funding at risk.
U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D–CT), Ranking Member on the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, said:
“I was proud to fight to ensure that the Aderholt amendment—which would have inserted bigotry and discrimination into our foster care and adoption systems—was removed from this year’s Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill. Children deserve to live in safe, happy, and healthy permanent homes, and their best interests should always be placed first. No qualified adoptive and foster care parent should be discriminated against, period.”
Following the addition of the foster care and adoption “license to discriminate” Aderholt Amendment to the House appropriations bill, forty Senators led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) signed a letter to Senate appropriations committee leaders Shelby (R-AL) and Leahy (D-VT) in opposition to the amendment, demonstrating that the bill with this language could not reach the Senate’s sixty vote threshold for passage. Hundreds of child welfare, LGBTQ, faith, and allied organizations also signed letters to appropriators urging them to drop the discriminatory measure. We applaud all who worked to defeat this measure, for the benefit of all in the nation’s foster care system.
Family Equality Council advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change.
Press release from Family Equality Council