Gay adoption battle ensues

By August 12, 2014
By Michael Rivera (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (http://goo.gl/vCK1SF)

By Michael Rivera (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (http://goo.gl/vCK1SF)

USA (MNN) — Remember the Hobby Lobby case? A similar battle is taking shape, this time in the sphere of U.S. domestic adoption.

The two sides are clearly defined and represented by two separate pieces of legislation. One party fights for protection of religious freedom guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The other demands acceptance and tolerance by all groups who receive federal funding.

Below is a summary of each bill and what they mean for Christians.

Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014 (H.R. 5285/S. 2706)
This bill protects adoption and foster care organizations from discrimination by state and federal officials because of sincerely-held religious beliefs or moral convictions. It also provides a basis for groups whose rights have been violated to take legal action against state and/or federal officials.

In other words, officials can’t deny funding and other necessary aid to groups like Bethany Christian Services simply because they adhere to biblical principles.

“It’s important because we not only want to meet the physical and emotional needs of the child, but also the spiritual needs,” explains Bill Blacquiere, Bethany President and CEO.

(Image courtesy Bethany)

(Image courtesy Bethany)

Some of those principles include God’s definition of marriage: union between one man and one woman. Opponents say the bill is just a cover for faith-based groups to stop gay adoption.

In reality, faith-based groups are the ones facing discrimination. According to Blacquiere and the wording of H.R. 5285, religious adoption and foster care organizations in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and the District of Columbia have been forced to stop their work.

Officials in these states wouldn’t work with the groups unless they agreed to place children in same-sex households.

“Bethany feels that it’s very important when we place children…that the family be legally married. Some states are saying, ‘That’s discriminatory. People don’t have to be married; they just have to have a stable relationship,'” says Blacquiere.

“[The bill] doesn’t discriminate against any group. It just simply says that faith-based organizations should be able to operate by their sincerely-held religious beliefs.”

Every Child Deserves a Family Act (H.R. 2028/S. 1069)
Opponents of the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014 point to H.R. 2028 as a more favorable option. Known as the “Every Child Deserves a Family Act,” this piece of legislation requires all adoption and foster care agencies to provide their services to homosexual couples.

Introduced in May 2013, this bill presents three heavy-handed objectives:

  • Bars any group receiving federal assistance from discriminating against prospective parents on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identification, or marital status.
  • Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide specified technical assistance.
  • Requires a government study of all states to make sure they’re complying with this act.
Under the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, faith-based groups would be required by law to place children with LGBT foster and adoptive parents.

Under the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, faith-based groups would be required by law to place children with LGBT foster and adoptive parents.

Under the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, faith-based groups would be required by law to place children with LGBT foster and adoptive parents. There are currently many foster and adoption agencies serving potential LGBT parents, but this law would ensure Christian groups are added to that list.

Why does it matter?
Without a government license, faith-based agencies can’t provide adoption or foster care services. The first piece of legislation mentioned above allows Christian groups to operate by biblical principles, while the second bill requires Christian groups to play by society’s rules.

“Families who want to be adoptive parents or foster families should have the right to choose if they want to be served by a faith-based organization,” notes Blacquiere.

“Just because a Christian family adopts a child doesn’t mean the child will become, automatically, a Christian. But the child will be exposed to Christianity through the example and through the teachings from their parents.”

(Image courtesy Bethany)

(Image courtesy Bethany)

There are a couple of ways you can take action, Blacquiere adds. First, take this issue to the Lord in prayer.

“Specific prayers would be that there would be other Senators and Representatives who would sign on and vote for this bill,” says Blacquiere.

Pray also that the bill wouldn’t cause hostility, but merely protect religious freedom. In addition, “people should contact their Senators and U.S. Representatives and ask them to sign on to support the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act.”

Find your U.S. Representative here.

5 Comments

  • Tim says:

    Faith-based groups are the ones facing discrimination? Wrong. You can’t discriminate against someone who is discriminating. It is not a “sincerely held religious belief” to be anti-gay. Back in biblical days, people lived in caves and ate rats for dinner. They didn’t know the earth was round. How much do we think they knew about human sexuality? The scriptures were written by heterosexual men – not Jesus, not women, not gay men – but mere heterosexual mortal males who probably had the same fears of gays as anyone who was different than they were. Nature puts gay people on this planet. There will always be gay babies – maybe to cut down on over-population, maybe to cut down on the aggression of heterosexual males that lead us into wars, etc. Edit out or ignore the anti-gay prejudice in the bible and Christianity’s problem with the issue will disappear. (Oh, you can’t do that, you say!? – what about killing our children if they swear or talk back to us, or promoting slavery – you ignore those, don’t you? Would you let a couple who believed in those “sincerely-held biblical principles” adopt a child??). Which brings me to my personal theory: people who don’t ignore the anti-gay prejudice in the bible, don’t like gay people. I’m a Christian and I have never paid attention to it.

  • Mike Murphy says:

    Tim:
    Just to clarify a starting point. The Bible says that the Scriptures were given by the inspiration of God. (2 Timothy 3:16) That means that your understanding of the Bible and its writers is incorrect. God used men to write down the Scriptures but HE still controlled what was written. By the way…back in Biblical days most people actually lived in houses/tents and ate lots of good crops, vegetables, beef and sheep.
    Also to clarify: the Bible was written in two parts. The Old Testament concerned the nation of Israel and its development, thus commands were given that pertained only to it. The New Testament was given to show the life of Christ and the development of the church and its doctrines. You cannot, with integrity, just pull a passage out of its Old Testament context and slap it down as evidence of an anti-gay position or an exaggeration to make a point. It is inappropriate and wrong.
    Both God and Christ affirmed that a proper union and marriage was a man with a woman (Genesis 1:27, Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 10:6-9), so as Christians our understanding of homosexuality needs to be based on the Words of God and Christ. While Christ did indeed love all people, He did not love all their actions. Christ condemned MANY sexual sins, including homosexuality. Incidentally, nature has not yet been proven to put gay people on this planet but SIN certainly assures there will be.
    I do not hate homosexuals: I have worked with a number of gays and find them to be just as witty, funny and sensitive as most people I have met. Biblically however, I do not agree with the lifestyle, just as I do not agree with other types of lifestyles that go contrary to God’s Word.
    Finally, who becomes the arbiter of what we take out of the Word of God and what we do not? You? Me? Who? We cannot pick and choose part of the Bible just because we do not like what it says. By the way the Bible NEVER promotes slavery, it does however give regulations to treat slaves well and promotes the releasing of slaves.
    Job knew the earth was round because God told him. Don’t place your assumptions on Biblical times…people in that era were extremely intelligent as we have learned with the Egyptians and also extremely barbaric, like the Babylonians and Assyrians.
    If you are a Christian Tim, then you need to pay attention to the WHOLE Bible and not just the parts you like or want to throw out. God wrote it.

  • LJ says:

    There is probably no way to reason with someone this skewed. Our God, our awesome & loving Father wrote the Bible and there are 1,000s of reasons this is true, which you could research if you really wanted to know. A Christian organization should be able to choose the criteria for adoptive parents. Why not? They are not forcing their beliefs on the entire world, but making choices according to their faith in Jesus Christ. Why force them to change their policies? The truth is, according to numerous studies, that children grown up to be healthy, well-adjusted adults when they have both a mother and a father. It makes sense and is actually designed by God, that a family have a mother and a father. Kids need both! So though there is no arguing with crazy, off-the-wall thinking, common sense should show you that marriage and family was meant to be with one mother and one father. Let these Christian organizations run their adoption agencies in the way that is best for the children and according to their deeply held Biblical principles.

  • MrsP says:

    I agree with Mike Murphy and LJ. People who claim to be Christians, and even those who don’t, cherry pick verses in the bible that supports their ‘theories’. I will pray for (Christian) faith based adoption agencies to be able to aid Christian families to adopt children, it’s a vastly, life or death alternative to any LGBT couples. I’m not a hater, but I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and quite frankly, I’m weary of having LGBT sexual immorality, sin, be shoved down my throat because of ‘political correctness’ which is just another way that this world caves in to and rationalizes what the Gospel tells us ‘ought not to
    Not To Be Done’. This is not optional, it’s Biblical. Christians should have all the same rights this nation offers to the people who reject The Lord, salvation, and His word/commandments. Our nation was founded under God, but this country has gone so far in the opposite direction, it’s disgusting. Please pray for God’s will to prevail with respect to this legislation.

  • toni says:

    As a faithful gay Christian, I am appalled that someone would consider disqualifying a couple for adoption because they are not permitted by law to marry. God has taught me to spread kindness and love to all people.

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