If This is What “Religious Freedom” Looks Like, Religious People Should Be Afraid

by Ianthe Metzger

A new federal bill would allow adoption discrimination based on parents’ religion, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other categories


WASHINGTON – If passed, a new piece of federal legislation (S. 2706/H.R. 5285) introduced this week would open a floodgate of adoption discrimination around the country.

Penned by Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA), the new bill would allow adoption or foster care providers to refuse service on the basis of their personal religious objections—the consequences of which would be immediate, random, broad and disastrous.

If passed into law, this bill would allow a religious adoption agency from a non-Christian faith to deny service to a straight, Christian couple. A single parent seeking to foster a child in need could be turned away no questions asked. And of course, this law would also allow rampant discrimination against committed and loving gay and lesbian couples.

In response to the news, Ellen Kahn, Director of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s Children, Youth, and Families Program released the following statement:

“It’s increasingly clear that, post-Hobby Lobby, some in positions of power believe that religious freedom should only belong to a few. If this bill passes, an Evangelical straight couple, a single father, or a committed and loving gay and lesbian couple could find their path to adoption blocked for no reasonable reason other than naked discrimination. Taxpayer funds should not be used to discriminate, and too many children need loving families right now for our elected officials to be playing these kinds dangerous political games. This bill has nothing to do with faith, and it must be condemned.”

For more on HRC’s work on parenting and adoption issues, visit www.hrc.org/topics/parenting. For updates on this dangerous legislation as news develops, stay tuned to www.hrc.org/blog.


The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.



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