A same-sex couple is suing the Trump administration and the state of South Carolina after being rejected as foster parents by a faith-based agency.
This is a challenge to a policy that can trace its origins to last year, when South Carolina asked Trump to give faith-based foster care agencies the right to turn away atheists, Jews, and all other non-Christian potential parents… all while maintaining their federal funding. Earlier this year, the administration granted the request.
Now, with the help of the ACLU and other civil rights groups, a couple from Greenville is suing because they were victims of the policy, having been denied the chance to be foster parents just because they’re gay.
Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and South Carolina Equality Coalition on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Eden Rogers and Brandy Welch against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the State of South Carolina.
“There is no government interest furthered by denying children access to good parents, based on a religious test,” ACLU attorney Leslie Cooper said. “(It) denies our most vulnerable children of families they desperately need … and it also turns our cherished First Amendment freedoms on their head to allow the use of a religious test for participation in government programs.”
Rogers and Welch had applied to be foster parents with Miracle Hill Ministries, but they were reportedly denied because of their orientation.
“Being denied right away felt like a huge blow to the gut. It literally made me feel ill,” Welch, 40, said. “I can’t understand why anyone would be dismissed like this based on their faith or sexual orientation, when there are so many children needing foster homes.”
She’s looking for a logical answer when none exists. This policy has everything to do with religious bigotry, not some deficiency on the part of certain foster parents who are in same-sex relationships. It’s also not surprising that the Trump administration has sided with conservative Christians over LGBTQ people — it’s what his base wanted and Trump doesn’t give a damn who he hurts as long as his conservative base supports it.
If that means foster care agencies, which are supposed to be looking out for the welfare of kids, turn away potential parents with the help of taxpayer funding, so be it. The kids will just have to suffer longer in the name of Jesus, all because Republicans care more about appeasing bigots than helping strangers.
(Image via Lambda Legal)