Distorting “Every Child Deserves a Family”

thanks to Carlos Maza. See his original post, with intact links, at

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) posted an article
from LifeSiteNews warning about a new federal bill
– the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDFA) – that would
“effectively ban US Christian adoption agencies.”

In reality, the bill would require entities that receive federal
assistance or contract with an entity that receives federal
assistance from denying service to people on the basis of sexual
orientation, gender identity, or marital status. From the text of
the bill, H.R. 1681:

(1) PROHIBITION- An entity that receives
Federal assistance or contracts with an entity that receives
Federal assistance
, and is involved in adoption or foster
care placements may not–

(A) deny to any person the opportunity to become an adoptive or a
foster parent on the basis of the sexual orientation, gender
identity, or marital status of the person, or the sexual
orientation or gender identity of the child involved;

(B) delay or deny the placement of a child for adoption or into
foster care on the basis of the sexual orientation, gender
identity, or marital status of any prospective adoptive or foster
parent, or the sexual orientation or gender identity of the child;

(C) require different or additional screenings, processes, or
procedures for adoptive or foster placement decisions on the basis
of the sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status of
the prospective adoptive or foster parent, or the sexual
orientation or gender identity of the child involved. [emphasis

In other words, religious adoption agencies that want to continue
discriminating against LGBT peoplecan still do so as long as
they don’t receive federal funding or contract with a state’s
federally-funded foster care program. Private Catholic adoption
agencies that aren’t involved with the public foster care system
would be totally unaffected by the bill.

Neither NOM nor LifeSiteNews bothered to report on what
the bill would actually do, though.

They were far too busy trying to depict anti-gay Christian adoption
agencies as the latest targets in the LGBT community’s war
against religion. This approach has been on display to a lesser
extent in Illinoisover the past few weeks. As Alvin McEwen wrote
on his blog:

Horror stories like this are common in religious right
propaganda – i.e. the gay agenda is causing discrimination against
Christians. One of the talking points from the National
Organization for Marriage claims that marriage equality will cause
Catholic Charities to close, thus depriving children a chance to be
placed in a good home.

No private entity, religious or otherwise, has a right to
promote its worldview within a public foster care system, nor does
it have a right be subsidized by the federal government
with millions of taxpayer dollars in financial support.

If a Catholic adoption agency wishes to receive federal government
money or participate in a state government’s public foster care
system, then it should expect to play by the government’s rules,
including its non-discrimination laws.

In reality, NOM is asking for the federal government to continue
providing money to anti-gay religious groups that then use that
money to deny services to LGBT Americans. As McEwen puts it:

[T]his isn’t a question of the supposed gay agenda, but
rather an entity (the Catholic Church) using taxpayer money but not
wanting to follow the laws which come attached to that

It really is that simple.

LifeSiteNews felt comfortable relying on Peter Sprigg,
from the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council, to back up
its factually inaccurate claims:

“It would have the effect of either banning Christian
adoption agencies or forbidding them from acting on their faith
convictions and their moral convictions in terms of what is in the
best interest of a child,” he warned.

Sprigg’s claim isn’t just factually incorrect, it’s
empirically disproven. Several states have already passed laws
prohibiting anti-gay discrimination in adoption and foster care
services. Contrary to Sprigg’s assertion, Catholic adoption
agencies continue to provide services in New
York, California, Oregon,Nevada, and New Jersey.

Sprigg went on to assert the patently false claim that
“overwhelming” evidence shows same-sex parents aren’t fit to
adequately raise children.

This isn’t about religious liberty – a solid majority of
Catholics actually support allowing gay and lesbian couples to
adopt children.

This is about whether the federal government should subsidize
anti-gay discrimination. If a Catholic adoption agency wants to
continue sitting on the wrong side of history by supporting
anti-gay discrimination, it should be prepared to do so privately
and without federal funds.

P.S. This is yet another example of NOM getting involved in
promoting anti-LGBT discrimination, even when it
has nothing to do with marriage.

Special thanks to Family Equality Council for providing
background information for this post.