Leading Child Welfare Organizations Oppose Anti-LGBTQ Legislation
We, as organizations dedicated to serving the best interests and well-being of children and youth, are deeply concerned about the spate of anti-LGBTQ bills that have been introduced in state legislatures around the country this year, including measures that would allow discrimination in adoption and foster care, criminalize transgender people who attempt to use restrooms, and, under the guise of religious liberty, give service providers the power to deny child welfare services to the very people who need our care the most.
These bills ignore the fact that our duty is to ensure the best care for our children, youth and their families. They would foster discrimination and do harm to our clients, our patients, our students and their families.
According to the first-of-its-kind youth survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in 2012, 60% of LGBTQ youth reported hearing negative comments from their elected leaders, and 63% of LGBTQ youth said they believed that they would have to leave their city or move to another state to feel accepted.
In order to thrive and succeed, LGBTQ youth need our acceptance and support.
The current wave of discriminatory religious refusal measures, and other anti-LGBTQ legislation, creates a hostile environment for LGBTQ youth, threatens their access to counseling, erodes their feeling that school is a safe and supportive place, and potentially reduces their ability to find and keep a job.
We are organizations that differ in size, scope, and mission, yet we are strongly united on this: anti-LGBTQ bills send extremely harmful messages to LGBTQ youth, and present a substantial risk for discrimination in key areas that are essential to all of our organizational missions. The risks include:
- A guidance counselor could refuse to work with an LGBTQ student who is seeking help with family challenges;
- A physician could deny services to a gender non-conforming child or the child of LGBTQ parents;
- A recreation center could refuse to include a LGBTQ teen on their soccer team;
- A small business owner could refuse to serve a group of teens who he perceives are LGBTQ;
- A mental health professional, based on their religious beliefs, could circumvent professional ethical standards by refusing to serve youth; and
- A school could be prevented from creating appropriate accommodations for a transgender student, subjecting the school to potential liability under Title IX, the national civil rights law that prevents schools receiving federal funds from discriminating on the basis of sex.
These bills would erode the emotional and practical well-being of young LGBTQ people and their families.
We stand united in our opposition to these shameful bills and call on legislatures across the country to cease action that will undermine protections for this highly vulnerable population.
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Counseling Association
Child Welfare League of America
Human Rights Campaign Foundation
National Association of School Psychologists
National Education Association
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids