Lambda Legal Condemns Discriminatory “Conscience Clause” Foster Care Bills in Texas, Alabama and Michigan

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April 23, 2015

“The passage of these discriminatory bills would have dangerous, devastating effects for children in these foster care systems by allowing state-funded agencies to turn away loving individuals and families.”

(New York, NY – April 23, 2015) — State legislators in Texas, Alabama and Michigan are considering a series of so-called “conscience clause” bills, which would allow state-funded child placing agencies to refuse to place a child with potential foster or adoptive parents if the placement conflicts with the agency’s “religious or moral” convictions, including restricting potential LGBT foster and adoptive parents. Lambda Legal Senior Attorney and Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project National Director M. Currey Cook issued the following statement:

“There are so many children in foster care in these states who lack a stable, loving family to care for them and potentially provide a permanent adoptive home. These bills are thinly-veiled attempts to single out LGBT foster and adoptive parents. Finding a suitable foster or adoptive home can be a challenge, particularly for older children and those with special needs. The passage of these discriminatory bills would have dangerous, devastating effects for children in the Michigan, Texas and Alabama foster care systems by allowing state-funded agencies to turn away loving individuals and families.

“The state-funded, faith-based agencies pushing these bills also serve LGBTQ youth. This type of legislation sends a damaging message to these youth that they are ‘different’ and unsuitable to be parents themselves. Though the proposed bills do not specifically name LGBT individuals or same-sex couples, the intent of the language is clear, as is the message they convey.

“Foster care and adoption agencies should only be guided by the best interest of the child, and they should be held to the non-discrimination standards recommended by the Child Welfare League of America and other child welfare experts.“We urge Texas, Alabama and Michigan to put a final stop to these profoundly misguided bills before they go any further.”

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Contact Info

Press contact: Eseosa Olumhense, C: 646-831-4107, eolumhense@lambdalegal.org. Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

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