WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – The Biden administration has pulled religious liberty protections that allowed foster care agencies to ensure children were placed with both a foster mom and a foster dad, not a same-sex couple.
On November 18, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced they have revoked from federally funded foster care agencies religious protections put in place by the Trump administration in 2017. Most notably, they removed the blanket protection that foster care agencies can refuse the placement of children to same-sex couples as it would be a grievous violation of their religious beliefs.
“HHS through ACF [Administration for Children and Families] and OCR [Office for Civil Rights] reestablished its commitment to furthering nondiscrimination and upholding the law by rescinding inappropriate, overly broad waivers issued by the prior Administration,” stated the press release.
“Today, HHS reaffirms its important commitment to core American values: HHS will not condone the blanket use of religious exemptions against any person or blank checks to allow discrimination against any persons, importantly including LGBTQ+ persons in taxpayer-funded programs,” the HHS added.
In 2017, the HHS under then-President Donald Trump, had issued a “Notice of Nonenforcement” to three states – South Carolina, Texas, and Michigan – along with certain child welfare agencies in those states, waiving nondiscrimination requirements based on religious objections.
While the Biden-led HHS states they will deal with religious objections on a “case-by-case” basis, Roger Severino, who led OCR under Trump and who currently serves as a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told Fox News that the “HHS [has] gratuitously stripped its Office for Civil Rights of the power to accept religious freedom complaints, leaving people with no other option but to sue when HHS inevitably tramples on their rights for lack of any internal checks.”
“These outrages are the latest in a long line of attacks on religious freedom that began the day Biden took office and likely will not end until he and his radical HHS Secretary no longer have the reins of power,” Severino stated.
Despite attacks on religious freedom by the Biden administration, courts have still generally ruled in favor of protecting faith-based organizations’ First Amendment rights.
In June, the Supreme Court voted 9-0 in favor of Catholic Social Services (CSS) after the City of Philadelphia ended their contract because they would not place foster children with same-sex couples.
In the ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that “CSS seeks only an accommodation that will allow it to continue serving the children of Philadelphia in a manner consistent with its religious beliefs; it does not seek to impose those beliefs on anyone else,” adding that the city’s ban on CSS “violates the First Amendment.”