Target: United States Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner
Goal: End discrimination against LGBT families by protecting the adoption rights of same-sex couples
The idea of the nuclear family has shifted dramatically in recent years. Today, families aren’t only defined by one mother, one father and their shared offspring. Instead, they consist of a multitude of parentages from single-parent homes to unmarried couples with children. As “alternative families” rise to great prominence, in the United States there is still one type of family fighting for respect and rights: same-sex families.
Despite great strides towards the creation of LGBT inclusive laws and policies, the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014 would make it legal to deny adoption rights to same-sex couples/parents, even if their states recognize marriage equality as law. What’s more, the law also allows federally funded child welfare service providers to legally discriminate against same-sex couples, without fear of losing taxpayer funding.
The bill, written by Senator Michael B. Enzi and Representative Mike Kelly, is shadily worded and questionable as it states that any child welfare service agency could “…refuse to provide, facilitate or refer a child…[to an individual or couple]…that conflicts with…[the organization’s] sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.” In the past, many faith-based providers and other child welfare agencies operating in states that allow same-sex marriages have shut down rather than let LGBT parents adopt or foster children. If passed, this bill would provide these discriminatory agencies with a loophole, allowing them to actively deny same-sex couples the opportunity to start families without any repercussions.
Finally, the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014 not only disrupts LGBT family planning, but also threatens the livelihoods of established same-sex families. By terminating second-parent adoption, parental rights of non-biological parents are automatically amended if something happens to a child’s biological parent. The result? More children forced to reenter the welfare system and an increase in broken LGBT families.
While freedom of religion is crucial, it should never be used as a cover for discriminatory practices. LGBT families, however alternative, are still real families, and they are entitled to the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts. Sign the petition below to urge the amendment of Child Welfare Provider bill and end discrimination against LGBT families.
Dear Rep. John Boehner,
As an LGBT rights supporter and advocate, I am disheartened by a bill, known as the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, that would seek to keep LGBT families from thriving, and add to the already growing number of children suffering in our country’s welfare system. In recent years, America has made great strides in the fight for LGBT equality, rights, respect and representation. To see a bill like this being introduced to Congress, and even considered, is a huge step back and tarnishes the phenomenal progress we’ve made.
The traditional notions of the “nuclear family” have shifted dramatically, and for the better. Cloaking discrimination in the expression of “religious beliefs” and “moral convictions” does not take away from the fact that the law is prejudiced, spiteful and ill-conceived. Believe it or not, more than six million Americans today have LGBT parents and these real families are entitled to real rights—without loopholes and seedy malleability.
I urge you to amend the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014 immediately. The fate of countless LGBT families relies heavily upon it.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Melinda via Wikimedia Commons