Amendment to allow adoption agencies to ban gay, lesbian parents fails

LGBT Adoption

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Alabama) added an amendment to a federal funding bill that would have punished states for protecting LGBT adoptive and foster parents. The amendment was removed from the bill last week.

An amendment that would have punished states for protecting LGBT adoptive and foster parents was removed from a federal funding bill.

The amendment was added quietly in July by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Alabama) into a funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. It would have banned states from enforcing anti-discrimination laws if they conflicted with an adoption agency’s religious beliefs.


Critics said it was a “license to discriminate” against LGBT families who want to adopt or foster children.

The Aderholt amendment was dropped Thursday during negotiations between the House and the Senate, and the House passed the budget measure without it.

The amendment also would have cut adoption funding for states by 15 percent if they did not allow adoption agencies to claim religious exemptions to state law, and it would have banned the federal government from passing similar measures.

In response to the amendment, two adoptive gay dads started a petition asking House Republicans to pull the amendment.


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.

There are over 428,000 children in foster care in the United States of those 107,000 children are eligible and  available for adoption. 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.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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