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HHS Wants Tax Dollars to Support Discrimination in Adoption

Just as it loses one fight for discrimination, the Trump Administration invites another. On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a rule change that would allow organizations receiving HHS grants to deny services to clients based on religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity:

Under Obama, these health grants added new protected categories – religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. So what’s new now is that HHS officials are rolling back protections for those last three categories. So if you go back to that walk-in clinic example, that means theoretically, they could say, we don’t serve Muslim patients in this clinic or transgender patients. That’s a hypothetical, and the impact of this could vary depending on where you live [Selena Simmons-Duffin, “Trump Administration Plans to Roll Back Anti-Discrimination Rules Tied to HHS Funding,” NPR: All Things Considered, 2019.11.05].

As usual, this Trump policy is bad for children:

…But a big impact of this rule change is on child welfare services. So a city or state might contract out the placement of kids in foster care to a faith-based group like, say, a Catholic group. In the past, as long as it received HHS funding, it had to place kids with anyone who was qualified who applied to be parents – so Jewish parents, same-sex couples, whoever. Now, that Catholic group can continue to receive HHS grant funding, and it can choose to deny services to people who are not, for instance, straight and Catholic.

…I should also say that the child welfare groups that I talked to today think this is a very bad thing not just for prospective adoptive or foster parents, but also for children. So one scenario I heard today is that if a gay or transgender kid is set up with a faith-based agency, they might have to go through conversion therapy to be placed with a family, or they might not be eligible to be placed with a family at all. And that’s not a hypothetical – that was happening before these Obama-era protections were put in place [Simmons-Duffin, 2019.11.05].

This proposal is just the latest of a depressingly long list of Trumpist efforts to roll back civil rights. It also smells like South Dakota’s atrocious discrimination-in-adoption law, passed in 2017, which lets adoption agencies receiving state funds reject willing parents who don’t pray enough in the right church.

Coincidentally, Governor Kristi Noem yesterday proclaimed November Adoption Month and emojifully asked to hear “YOUR STORY” about adoption:

Gov. Kristi Noem, tweet, 2019.11.06.
Gov. Kristi Noem, tweet, 2019.11.06.

One former South Dakota replied with this explanation of how our discriminatory adoption law touched his family right out of the state:

Jacob Sutton, tweet-reply to Gov. Kristi Noem, 2019.11.06
Jacob Sutton, tweet-reply to Gov. Kristi Noem, 2019.11.06

SDSU alumnus Sutton also noted that Colorado, where he currently lives, actually recruits LGBT families to provide foster care.

Evidently if you want family values, you have to go to Denver. The only family values in Washington, D.C., and Pierre appear to be nepotism.


  1. Ryan 2019-11-07 09:01

    I love when an idiot on the internet ask for public input and the public then gives input that shows how gross that idiot is. It’s pretty much the only thing about social media I like!

  2. Jenny 2019-11-07 16:05

    I’ve met several LGBT 🏳️‍🌈 families here in MN. My heart beams with happiness when I see these families and how close knit and loving they are. Instead of one fun-loving daddy they get two! How cool is that!
    The happiness I see with these kids as their fathers play with them in the parks is contagious! This is the way it should be, South Dakota! Happy kids with happy parents!

  3. Donald Pay 2019-11-07 21:28

    We are friends with a lesbian couple who had twins. The kids are now juniors in college, and doing well. They had their share of the normal teenage issues. Just because your family is headed by two lesbians doesn’t mean you get to skip teenage angst and rebellion.

  4. Debbo 2019-11-07 22:04

    It’s really horrendous that churches would force children into conversion therapy/torment before allowing them to be eligible for adoption. Of course, it is the same damn deministration that steals little children from their parents and puts the little ones in cages.

    The churches that do that are evangelical/fundamentalist and Roman Catholic. Don’t doubt the RCC does it. This is why I say that:

    When the USA gives $ to a nation for disaster recovery or something similar, they often give it to the RCC to disburse with specific directions as to who gets it and religion may NOT be a factor. But the RCC gives it to their members only. That’s one of the ways they get more members.

    I know that because Lutheran missionaries I know have watched it happen many times. Over and over again.

    Religion and government is a total disaster. The framers were 100% right on that.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-11-08 06:55

    As your next Governor, I promise to bring legislation expanding funding for adoption agencies that refuse to place children with families that fly Trump flags. We must protect our children from that moral depravity.

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