New Legislation by GOP Rep Jim Banks Aims to Counter Joe Biden’s Proposed Rule Restricting Christian Adoption

Indiana’s Republican Representative, Jim Banks, has presented the Sensible Adoption for Every (SAFE) Home Act, which strives to withhold federal funds from child welfare agencies engaging in religious discrimination.

This initiative directly addresses an anticipated Health and Human Services (HHS) rule from the Biden administration, requiring foster or adoptive parents to endorse a child’s gender transition, encompassing the use of preferred pronouns, acceptance of chosen names, and permitting the child to dress in accordance with their gender identity.

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

Expressing strong opposition to the HHS proposal, Banks underscored its potentially harmful consequences for children in foster care and adoption. He criticized the administration for impeding these children from finding loving homes due to objections from prospective parents about irreversible sex-change procedures for minors.

Banks decried this issue as one that transcends political divisions, highlighting its inherent ethical wrongness. The Biden administration contends that the HHS rule is crucial to protecting the rights of LGBTQI+ youth, alleging disproportionate abuse within the foster care system.

However, 18 state attorneys general, including those from Republican-led states such as Georgia, Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, and Kentucky, have contested this proposal. They collectively voiced concerns that the rule may violate constitutional rights, particularly the First Amendment’s freedom of religion and speech.

These state attorneys general assert that the proposed rule effectively marginalizes faith-based agencies that are unwilling to compromise their religious convictions from participating in the foster care system.

Citing a recent Supreme Court decision in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, which upheld religious freedom, these attorneys general argue that the HHS rule contradicts established legal precedent.

The case involved a city’s refusal to collaborate with a Catholic group unwilling to endorse same-sex couples as foster parents, and the court ruled against the city’s discrimination based on the group’s religious beliefs.

Furthermore, the Republican attorneys general emphasize the potential negative impact on foster children, noting that individuals with Christian and faith-based affiliations are significantly more likely to become foster parents than the general population.

With close to 400,000 minors presently in foster care and an anticipated increase in their numbers, the potential exclusion of faith-based providers due to these regulations may intensify the strain on the system.

The attorneys general also critique the administration’s strategy, suggesting that it seeks to indirectly impose these requirements on states rather than on individual providers.

They argue that this approach could marginalize religious parents or groups from participating as “safe” placements for LGBTQI+ youth if they decline to adhere to HHS regulations, an action they assert is both unconstitutional and discriminatory.