A new rule from the Trump administration allowing adoption and foster care agencies to refuse placement to same-sex couples was widely condemned after it was unveiled last week. However, at least one key demographic is thrilled about the proposal: anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, says the Department of Human and Human Services’ (HHS) decision to permit faith-based agencies to discriminate in the name of religion is “tremendous news for children, birth moms, and adoptive families, who want the opportunity to work with an agency that shares their values and core beliefs — without fear of government discrimination.”
“Under the proposed HHS rule, faith-based adoption providers will no longer have to choose between abandoning their faith or abandoning homeless children because the government disapproves of their views on marriage,” Perkins said in a press release.
The HHS guidelines were rolled out after the Trump administration granted a waiver to Miracle Hill Ministries, an evangelical adoption agency in Greenville, South Carolina that didn’t want to do business with same-sex couples. As a Christian organization, the placement center also didn’t want to assist Muslim, Jewish, or interfaith families with adoption or foster care services.
But as Out previously reported, the policy unveiled last week could impact LGBTQ+ people in a broad range of services from homeless shelters to HIV clinics.
It shouldn’t be surprising, though, that Perkins would “commend President Trump for his courage to stand up for vulnerable children [and] adoptive families” following the introduction of a proposal that will lead to sweeping discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. He is a supporter of conversion therapy, believes gay people are more likely to be pedophiles, and called the “It Gets Better” campaign “disgusting.”
As a close advisor to President Donald Trump, Perkins also was a leading proponent of the effort to ban transgender people from serving openly in the military.
But if Perkins’ support of the new HHS rule wasn’t telling enough, he was also joined by another key figure in the anti-LGBTQ+ movement: Mat Staver. Staver serves as the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a right-wing law firm that, like the Family Research Council, has been classified as an anti-LGBTQ+ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Liberty Counsel, however, is most famous for its support of Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk who was jailed for five days after she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2015. Staver once compared the alleged persecution she faced to Jews in Nazi Germany.
In a press release, Staver called the HHS rule a “great decision in favor of religious freedom and the well-being of children.”
“There is crisis in America [sic] — 443,000 children are in foster care and about 100,000 are waiting to be adopted,” he said. “For the last five years, the foster care crisis has continued to get worse. These children are already at-risk and do not need to be placed in potentially harmful situations, and faith-based agencies should not be punished for protecting them.”
However, leading advocacy groups like Family Equality Council have claimed that allowing agencies to discriminate against same-sex families will only make America’s adoption and foster care crisis worse. Research shows LGBTQ+ couples are seven times more likely to adopt than heterosexual couples.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has announced it will challenge the HHS rule by filing a lawsuit against it.