Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it is restoring the application of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to a case-by-case determination, as required by Congress. HHS will also rescind state waivers from the previous administration that created blanket exemptions and allowed millions of federal dollars to fund discrimination against people of faith, LGBTQ families, and others in the child welfare system.
In response, Maggie Siddiqi, senior director of Religion and Faith at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
Congress enacted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to protect the free exercise of religion, particularly for religious minorities. It was never intended to allow discriminatory practices that undermine religious freedom. The prior administration’s waivers misused RFRA in a manner the House Ways and Means Committee characterized as “improper and unprecedented,” allowing prospective parents to be turned away from adoption agencies simply because of their religious beliefs or any other protected characteristics. In South Carolina, for example, the waiver enabled a Protestant foster care agency to turn away prospective foster parents who were Catholic and Jewish. Far from protecting religious liberty, these waivers subverted this fundamental freedom.
Today’s actions by the Biden administration will ensure no child is denied a loving foster home simply because of who their prospective parents are, who they love, or what they believe.
For more information or to speak with an expert on this topic, please contact Tricia Woodcome at email@example.com.