Marcia Ranglin-Vassell: Bill would discriminate against potential foster parents

Providence Journal

Posted Jul 27, 2018 at 5:51 PM
Updated Jul 27, 2018 at 5:51 PM

I respectfully call on Congress to immediately reject a recent amendment to an appropriations bill. While its sponsor, U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama, described the amendment as an attempt to promote religious freedom, its real effect is to penalize states that seek to prevent discrimination against foster and adoptive families.

Child welfare policy should be driven by the best interests of children. There are more than 400,000 children in foster care in the United States, and 118,000 of them are waiting for adoptive families. Across the country there is a shortage of foster and adoptive families.

I know many wonderful families who have stepped up to care for children. They have different backgrounds and faiths. They are diverse: young, old, gay, straight, single, married. They are all loving families and we need more of them. The children they care for are equally diverse.

Unfortunately, in Washington, Republicans supported this amendment to allow discrimination in foster care and adoption. The amendment would also penalize states — potentially including Rhode Island — that uphold anti-discrimination policies. This could result in fewer LGBT parents or parents of different faiths being approved to foster or adopt. If enacted, this would be harmful to children and our state.

I oppose this amendment, which gives license to discrimination. I believe that families should not be denied services based on their religion or sexual orientation. I urge others to let our congressional delegation know that they also oppose it.

Marcia Ranglin-Vassell
The writer is a Democratic state representative.