Two adoptive gay dads have gathered more than 26,000 signatures on a petition asking a House Republican to pull an amendment that critics say gives child welfare agencies that receive taxpayer money a “license to discriminate” against LGBT families who want to adopt or foster children.
‘LICENSE TO DISCRIMINATE’
The amendment — added quietly by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) into a funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education — would allow adoption agencies to reject potential families because they conflict with the agency’s “religious beliefs or moral convictions,” a dog-whistle conservatives use when they want to discriminate against the LGBTQ community.
The House Appropriations Committee approved the amendment earlier this month in a 29-23 vote, along party lines, with Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) the only Republican who voted against it.
Adoptive gay dads Jamie McGonnigal and Sean Carlson, who live in Maryland, started the petition this week. They want Aderholt to withdraw his amendment from the funding bill.
“I challenge Rep. Aderholt to come to sit across from us at our dinner table and tell us that we aren’t qualified to be parents,” Carlson said in a statement. “As prospective parents, every aspect of our lives and qualifications were evaluated before taking on this enormous responsibility. If this bill comes to pass, we could be eliminated before ever being considered, just because of who we are and who we love.”
According to research by the Williams Institute, more than 16,000 same-sex couples are raising an estimated 22,000 adopted children in the United States, and more than 2 million LGBTQ people are interested in adopting.
More than 437,000 children were in foster care in 2016, and on average, a child waits nearly two years for placement, according to the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Family.