The Trump administration on Friday, Nov. 1, proposed a rule that would allow faith-based foster care and adoption agencies to continue getting federal funding, moving forward to roll back an Obama- era rule that prevents these agencies from serving families based on their religious beliefs.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC.) in response to the news, praised the move as “extremely important.”
“Yet another promise kept from this President—taking proactive steps to protect religious liberty,” he tweeted. “This won’t make a lot of headlines but it’s extremely important. Bravo @realDonaldTrump.”
The White House said the rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would apply to a broad range of organizations that receive federal support, such as those that get federal funding to help the homeless or prevent HIV.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said that restricting the work of faith-based organizations, as the Obama rule threatened to do, was unfair and serves no one, “especially the children in need of those services.”
Administration officials said faith-based groups play a crucial role in finding permanent homes for vulnerable children and address a crisis in foster care with more than 100,000 children awaiting adoption, according to the Washington Times.
“It’s encouraging to see the Trump administration continue to take this issue seriously and ensure that faith-based foster care services, like Miracle Hill, can continue their amazing work in our communities,” Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) told the Washington Times. “The decision by HHS will further protect religious liberty and the children and families that rely on these critical services.”
The announcement sparked a sharp backlash from some Democratic lawmakers and LGBT advocacy groups. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said the Trump administration was working overtime to “implement cruel and discriminatory policies, and wasting taxpayer dollars in its obsessive pursuit.”
Nevertheless, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said the proposed rule would not infringe President Trump’s promise to protect LGBT people, reported the Washington Blade.
“The President is in no way undermining his promise or preventing LGBT people from adopting. LGBT people can still adopt and that will not change,” Deere said. “The administration is rolling back an Obama-era rule that was proposed in the 12’o clock hour of the last administration that jeopardizes the ability of faith-based providers to continue serving their communities. The federal government should not be in the business of forcing child welfare providers to choose between helping children and their faith.”
The Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group, said charities would no longer have to choose between “abandoning their faith or abandoning homeless children.”
“Thanks to President Trump, charities will be free to care for needy children and operate according to their religious beliefs and the reality that children do best in a home with a married mom and dad,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.
Includes reporting from the Associated Press