Vice President Mike Pence spoke at an event Tuesday at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington observing National Adoption Month that was apparently packed with religious conservatives eager to cheer Trump administration plans to roll back an Obama-era rule that barred taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies from rejecting same-sex couples based on religious beliefs.
Said Pence: “Let me assure all of you that we understand the role that communities fo faith play in adoption … I couldn’t be more proud that at President Trump’s direction and with the strong support of leaders across foster care, adoption, and our faith communities, we’ve taken decisive action.”
“We’ve reversed the rule implemented in the closing days of the last administration that jeopardized the ability of faith-based providers to serve those in need by penalizing them for their deeply held religious beliefs,” Pence added. “We will stand for the freedom of religion and we will stand with faith-based organizations to support adoption.”
Pounding his fist, Pence continued, “We will stand for the freedom of religion, and we will stand with faith-based organizations to support adoption.”
The NYT reported last week: ‘The Department of Health and Human Services on Friday released the proposed rule, which would roll back a 2016 discrimination regulation instituted by the administration of President Barack Obama that included sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. Any organization — including foster care and adoption agencies or other entities that get department funding — is “now free to discriminate” if it wants to, Ms. Brogan-Kator said. The proposed rule could be published in the Federal Register as early as Monday, followed by a 30-day comment period. After that, the comments will close and it will become final rule.’
Said the White House in a statement over the weekend: “The administration is rolling back an Obama-era rule that was proposed in the 12 o’clock hour of the last administration that jeopardizes the ability of faith-based providers to continue serving their communities. The federal government should not be in the business of forcing child welfare providers to choose between helping children and their faith.”
2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg spoke out about the proposed measure last week in an interview with the Washington Blade: “I think it’s a huge step backward. It’s bad enough that discrimination is taking place across the country, but when discrimination is being supported with federal funds, it takes away, first of all the movement justice and equality, but also an opportunity for the federal government to show leadership in advancing equality.”
Added Buttigieg: “I’m guessing there are some things we haven’t even heard much about yet that are happening across the departments, the way they make changes in practice, the way they set up some of these offices.”