NOM, LifeSiteNews Peddle Obvious Distortion About Adoption Anti-Discrimination Bill
June 03, 2011 4:45 pm ET by Carlos Maza
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) posted an article from LifeSiteNews warning about a new federal bill - the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDFA) - that would “effectively ban US Christian adoption agencies.”
In reality, the bill would require entities that receive federal assistance or contract with an entity that receives federal assistance from denying service to people on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. From the text of the bill, H.R. 1681:
(1) PROHIBITION- An entity that receives Federal assistance or contracts with an entity that receives Federal assistance, and is involved in adoption or foster care placements may not--
(A) deny to any person the opportunity to become an adoptive or a foster parent on the basis of the sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status of the person, or the sexual orientation or gender identity of the child involved;
(B) delay or deny the placement of a child for adoption or into foster care on the basis of the sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status of any prospective adoptive or foster parent, or the sexual orientation or gender identity of the child; or
(C) require different or additional screenings, processes, or procedures for adoptive or foster placement decisions on the basis of the sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status of the prospective adoptive or foster parent, or the sexual orientation or gender identity of the child involved. [emphasis added]
In other words, religious adoption agencies that want to continue discriminating against LGBT people can still do so as long as they don’t receive federal funding or contract with a state’s federally-funded foster care program. Private Catholic adoption agencies that aren’t involved with the public foster care system would be totally unaffected by the bill.
Neither NOM nor LifeSiteNews bothered to report on what the bill would actually do, though.
They were far too busy trying to depict anti-gay Christian adoption agencies as the latest targets in the LGBT community’s war against religion. This approach has been on display to a lesser extent in Illinois over the past few weeks. As Alvin McEwen wrote on his blog:
Horror stories like this are common in religious right propaganda - i.e. the gay agenda is causing discrimination against Christians. One of the talking points from the National Organization for Marriage claims that marriage equality will cause Catholic Charities to close, thus depriving children a chance to be placed in a good home.
No private entity, religious or otherwise, has a right to promote its worldview within a public foster care system, nor does it have a right be subsidized by the federal government with millions of taxpayer dollars in financial support.
If a Catholic adoption agency wishes to receive federal government money or participate in a state government’s public foster care system, then it should expect to play by the government’s rules, including its non-discrimination laws.
In reality, NOM is asking for the federal government to continue providing money to anti-gay religious groups that then use that money to deny services to LGBT Americans. As McEwen puts it:
[T]his isn't a question of the supposed gay agenda, but rather an entity (the Catholic Church) using taxpayer money but not wanting to follow the laws which come attached to that money.
It really is that simple.
LifeSiteNews felt comfortable relying on Peter Sprigg, from the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council, to back up its factually inaccurate claims:
“It would have the effect of either banning Christian adoption agencies or forbidding them from acting on their faith convictions and their moral convictions in terms of what is in the best interest of a child,” he warned.
Sprigg’s claim isn’t just factually incorrect, it’s empirically disproven. Several states have already passed laws prohibiting anti-gay discrimination in adoption and foster care services. Contrary to Sprigg’s assertion, Catholic adoption agencies continue to provide services in New York, California, Oregon, Nevada, and New Jersey.
This isn’t about religious liberty - a solid majority of Catholics actually support allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children.
This is about whether the federal government should subsidize anti-gay discrimination. If a Catholic adoption agency wants to continue sitting on the wrong side of history by supporting anti-gay discrimination, it should be prepared to do so privately and without federal funds.
P.S. This is yet another example of NOM getting involved in promoting anti-LGBT discrimination, even when it has nothing to do with marriage.
Special thanks to Family Equality Council for providing background information for this post.