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More hard-won rights eroded in major blow to child welfare

Brits, take note. Human rights which can take a generation of campaigning and activism to win can be lost at the stroke of a pen.

This week, an amendment to a funding bill in the US Congress not only allows government funded adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same sex couples on religious grounds, it also proposes to cut funding by 15% to states and localities which penalise agencies which do not allow such discrimination against LGBTQ adopters.

The bill will also bar the federal government from refusing to work with agencies that discriminate.

Discrimination on religious grounds is not limited to prospective gay and lesbian parents. The amendment allows agencies to reject atheists, single parents or even straight couples where one party has previously been divorced.

Christ: we reckon he’d be fine with same sex adoption.

Media director of the Democratic National Committee, Lucas Acosta, commented, “House Republicans are pandering to their far-right base at the expense of LGBTQ people and children in need of a home.

“Rather than focusing on empowering families or uniting children with their parents, Republicans voted to give child welfare agencies a licence to discriminate against qualified potential parents.”

Nine states already permit government funded child welfare agencies to refuse to place children with LGBTQ parents, including young people who themselves identify as LGBTQ. They are Alabama, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia. According to the Family Equality Council, there are currently more than 21,000 children awaiting adoption in these nine states.

The United Kingdom is one of only 27 countries where same sex adoption is permitted by law. The 2002 Adoption and Children Act specifically outlaws discrimination against LGBTQ people on religious (or any other) grounds, and local councils and private agencies now actively reach out to same-sex couples who might wish to adopt. It is generally accepted that children brought up in two mum or two dad families are in no way disadvantaged by not being part of a traditional family set up, leading to thousands of children now being raised in loving families rather than being left to languish in children’s homes.

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Rob Harkavy

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