February 4, 2019

Cassidy, Kennedy Introduce Legislation to Protect Adoption and Foster Care Providers from Religious Discrimination

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), and U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA)joined colleagues in the House and Senate in introducing the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act(H.R. 897 and S. 274), legislation to ensure faith-based adoption and foster care providers can continue to provide child welfare services.

Because of a regulation instituted by the Obama Administration in January 2017 and somestate laws, some faith-based organizations are blocked from providing child welfare services in a way that does not conflict with their religious beliefs.

For decades, adoption and foster care providers—secular,government-operated and faith-based—worked side-by-side to serve infants, expectant mothers, adoptive and foster families, children, teens and families under economic and emotional pressure. The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act would prevent providers of child welfare services from being excluded from offering these services based on their religious beliefs.

“Discriminating against child welfare providers because of their religious beliefs is offensive and wrong,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Parents who choose to adopt or foster a child should be able to get help from the provider of their choice, and the government should not make it more difficult for a child in need of a home to find a safe, loving family.”

“This bill is about creating families,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Faith-based organizations are being asked to abandon their religious beliefs if they want to connect birth parents to adoptive families. That’s just wrong.”

Cassidy introduced the legislation in the Senate along with Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), James Risch (R-ID), Ben Sasse (R-NE), James Inhofe (R-OK), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Cornyn (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tim Scott (R-SC), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Josh Hawley (R-MO). 

The bill was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Mike Kelly (R-PA), Collin Peterson, D-MN), Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Tom Cole (R-OK), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), John Carter (R-TX), James Comer (R-KY), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Bill Flores (R-TX), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Greg Gianforte (R-MT), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Jody Hice (R-GA), Mike Johnson (R-LA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Alex Mooney (R-VA), Gary Palmer (R-AL), Bill Posey (R-FL), Phil Roe (R-TN), Francis Rooney(R-FL), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chris Stewart (R-UT), Mark Walker (R-NC), Randy Weber (R-TX), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Chris Collins (R-NY), Rick Allen (R-GA), and John Rutherford (R-FL).