WASHINGTON, D.C., May 31, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A bill reintroduced into the U.S. House of Representatives this month proposes federal-level punishment for states that ban homosexual couples and non-married individuals from adopting children.  Effectively, the bill would ban all Catholic and Christian adoption agencies or forbid them from acting on faith beliefs.

Touted as the means for fixing a “flawed” system, the “Every Child Deserves a Family Act” would “prohibit discrimination in adoption or foster care placements” based on the “sexual orientation, gender identification, or marital status” of prospective adoptive and foster parents.

First introduced in October 2009 by Democratic California Rep. Pete Stark, the bill was re-introduced on May 3 with 52 co-sponsors in the House.  Democratic Senator Kristin Gillibrand of New York is expected to introduce companion legislation in the Senate in the coming weeks.

According to Stark, the legislation addresses the “critical shortage” of stable, safe, and loving homes in the adoption and foster-care system. “The legislation would set a federal baseline that puts an end to prejudiced restrictions that have denied an untold number of children the homes that they desperately need,” said a press release on Stark’s website.

Stark told The Huffington Post that there is a “tremendous need for adoptive parents” in the US for “thousands of kids who would otherwise be stuck in foster care”.

However, he cited his main reason for proposing the legislation as the “homophobic opposition that gay people aren’t suitable adoptive parents.” “This is a human rights issue,” he said

Meanwhile, Lori Windham, Senior Counsel with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty told EWTN News that the legislation would in fact prevent the huge number of religiously affiliated adoption and foster care organizations in the US from providing services. 

“The impact of the legislation would be to mean that fewer children will actually get homes,” said Windham.  “This legislation would prohibit adoption agencies and foster care agencies, including religious adoption agencies and foster care agencies, from providing services in many cases. They would have to choose between following their religious beliefs and shutting down.”

Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, agreed.  “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 said that Christian organizations, such as Catholic Charities are among the “most effective adoption agencies” which have an “outstanding record”.  Additionally, he said, “unique problems” associated with homosexual couples and non-married couples indicate that these homes are “likely to be less stable than a married husband-and-wife household.”

Just last week the Catholic Charities of Rockford, IL announced the closing of their adoption agencies, forced out of service due to new legislation that would oblige them to service homosexual couples.

In 2009 Catholic Charities completed 3,794 adoptions and provided adoption services to 43,982 clients. It provided foster care services for 18,344 children and adolescents, the Catholic Charities USA 2009 Annual Survey reports.

Pointing to “overwhelming” evidence supporting the understanding that children are best raised in homes with a father and mother, Sprigg added, “I think it’s legitimate to disfavor [unmarried and homosexual couples] or to exclude them altogether.”

“This represents one more case in which we are seeing the rights of adults placed ahead of the best interests of the children,” concluded Sprigg.