On May 19, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, a federal measure designed to maximize the number of qualified parents available to the hundreds of thousands of children who currently live in the American foster care system. The law would prevent child welfare organizations that receive federal funds from discriminating against potential parents on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.
The proposed legislation came not only during National Foster Care Month but also amid an increasing number of state-led efforts to permit discrimination on religious grounds in adoption and foster care proceedings. Currently, only seven states explicitly prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, foster parents, leaving individuals in other states vulnerable to unfair treatment by child welfare agencies. Most recently, Texas lawmakers successfully fought back three attempts by conservative state legislators to enact special protections for child welfare organizations that refuse to provide services to prospective foster or adoptive parents for religious reasons.
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