Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Representatives John Lewis (D-GA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) have announced their intentions to reintroduce the “Every Child Deserves A Family Act” or ECDF. The move is getting praise from LGBT family organizations like the Family Equality Council and PFLAG National. The bill is designed to help children in need of stable families.
The legislation is aimed at increasing foster children’s access to permanent and stable family lives. To do this, the legislation would limit federal funding for foster care or adoption programs that discriminate against people due to their marital status, gender identity or sexual orientation. The law is aimed at those agencies that discriminate against LGBT or unmarried (but stable) parents, or LGBT children.
The bill is likely opposed heavily by the Roman Catholic Church and other faith-based adoption groups who are seriously opposed to giving up any of their government funds in order to run discriminatory agencies. In the past, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has taken children in need of stable families hostage in order to try and stop legislation granting same-sex couples either marriage rights or adoption rights.
Representative Lewis stated upon the announcement of the bill that “I am very proud to serve as a lead House sponsor of this significant legislation. This bill highlights why discrimination in any form is unreasonable in a civilized society. You do the math. Our society has the chance to eradicate the foster care adoption problem entirely, if we pass this bill. The persistence of discriminatory policy robs us of that opportunity. With this bill, we mandate that agencies put nothing before the happiness and well-being of our children and use every measure to place them with willing, capable adoptive families, regardless of their make-up. Every healthy family has an equal opportunity to give a child a home.”
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand added that “New York has been a leader on ensuring that any family can adopt children and set a great example for the rest of the country. Every child deserves a loving home, and it is just wrong to keep children from a brighter future with a loving family by discriminating against adoptive parents based on their sexual orientation, marital status or gender identity. By removing all barriers for loving, committed LGBT couples to serve as foster parents we will uphold a core American value. I hope we can come together and pass this important legislation that would open thousands of new foster and adoptive homes.”
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen also said “I’m proud to join Congressman John Lewis and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in introducing the Every Child Deserves a Family Act. This common-sense legislation that will open the hearts and homes of so many parents who are qualified and ready to give all their love and nurturing to children who are in the foster care system. All children deserve the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful home life with loving parents. Our bill will decrease the length of time that a child has to wait for a permanent home with a loving family by preventing discrimination in adoption and foster care placements based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. Without this legislation, many families who are longing to provide children with an adequate home environment will continue to be arbitrarily turned away on the subjective and prejudicial basis of who they are.”