Metro Weekly

GOP Bill Would Place LGBTQ Kids in Anti-Gay Foster Homes

The measure would deny federal funds to child welfare agencies who refuse to place LGBTQ children with non-affirming parents.

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks – Photo: Gage Skidmore

A Republican congressman has proposed a bill to prevent child welfare agencies from turning away prospective foster and adoptive parents who refuse to recognize transgender and nonbinary children’s identities.

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) introduced the bill earlier this month in response to a proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The rule would require child welfare agencies to place LGBTQ-identifying children in homes where they will not be mistreated or abused due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Caregivers for LGBTQ children would be required to receive training on how to provide for any unique needs those youth may have because of their identity.

Banks has condemned the rule as discriminatory, impacting prospective parents who do not support the idea of transgender identity or who oppose homosexuality based on their religious beliefs. 

“The Biden administration is cruelly preventing countless children in the foster care and adoption system from going to loving homes just because parents are opposed to irreversible sex change procedures on kids,” Banks told Fox News Digital.

“This isn’t a liberal or conservative issue. This is just plain wrong, and every sane person knows it.”

Banks has instead proposed the Sensible Adoption for Every Home Act (SAFE), which would ensure that families that are headed by parents who hold anti-LGBTQ views are not rejected as foster parents. It would enforce that by prohibiting placement agencies that refuse to place LGBTQ children with otherwise qualified couples from receiving federal funds.

Even though social transition does not necessarily involve medical interventions, Banks — like many Republicans pushing anti-transgender legislation — equates affirmation with pursuing surgical and hormonal treatments.

His bill also seeks to protect parents who oppose psychological treatments or counseling for trans-identifying children, or refuse to use gender-affirming pronouns, from being discriminated against by placement agencies. 

Other Republicans have attacked the HHS rule, with 18 Republican attorneys general signing a letter opposing the proposed change, reports Fox News.

The attorneys general claim the rule change oversteps HHS’s authority, effectively discriminates against people who practice the Christian faith, in violation of the First Amendment, and potentially harms children by limiting the number of available foster homes where LGBTQ children can be placed.

As much as Republicans claim it’s unfair to discriminate against non-affirming parents, 13 states currently have laws that allow placement agencies to reject same-sex couples, single or unmarried parents, older opposite-sex couples, interfaith couples, and other prospective parents based on their purported religious beliefs.

Such “conscience clause exemptions” were especially popular over a decade ago in conservative-leaning states, even though allowing such rejections also reduced the pool of potential placements for children in the foster care system.

Additionally, 21 states have passed bills that prohibit minors from accessing the kind of gender-affirming treatments that Banks rails about in touting his bill, which could potentially make the issue moot, regardless of a foster parent’s personal views.

In Congress, Banks has amassed a record that is hostile to LGBTQ rights.

He previously co-introduced a bill to allow adults who experience “regret” after undergoing transition-related treatments as youth to sue their former doctors.

He introduced another bill earlier this year, in conjunction with Sen. Marco Rubio, seeking to ban transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military.

Last year, Banks submitted a discharge petition to force a vote on a bill to bar transgender women and girls from participating in female-designated sports.

Banks was also previously banned from Twitter, prior to Elon Musk’s takeover of the platform, for deliberately misgendering Adm. Rachel Levine, the country’s first transgender four-star admiral with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the Assistant Secretary of Health at HHS.

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