Family Equality Condemns Trump Administration Rule to Allow Foster Care and Adoption Discrimination

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Family Equality and members of the Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign unequivocally condemn a new rule released by Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today that allows taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption agencies to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital status – specifically same-sex marriages – denying America’s foster children urgently needed family placements.

“It is outrageous that the Trump administration would mark the start of National Adoption Month by announcing a rule to further limit the pool of loving homes available to America’s 440,000 foster children,” said Julie Kruse, director of federal policy at Family Equality. “The American public overwhelmingly opposes allowing taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies to turn away qualified parents simply because they are in a same-sex relationship.”

“This action harms America’s foster children, particularly the 123,000 waiting for adoption. Less than half of these children will find their forever families within a year, yet the administration is acting to make even fewer families available,” said Denise Brogan-Kator, chief policy officer at Family Equality. “Changing federal nondiscrimination rules to allow child-placing agencies to reduce the pool of qualified potential foster and adoptive parents runs counter to the cardinal rule of child welfare: that the best interests of children in care must come first.”

The rule announced today follows similar leaks and actions by HHS earlier this year. In May, Axios reported on HHS plans to allow taxpayer-funded child-placing agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ people, and in January 2019, HHS issued a waiver to South Carolina allowing faith-based foster care and adoption agencies to turn away Jewish, Catholic, secular and other parents whose religious beliefs don’t match the provider’s.

About Family Equality

Family Equality advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change. Family Equality believes every LGBTQ person should have the right and opportunity to form and sustain a loving family, regardless of who they are or where they live. Learn more at

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Media Contact:

Ed Harris, Chief Communications Officer / 646-880-3005 x117