City stops foster care intakes due to LGBT+ discrimination

Philadelphia officials say the city has stopped two faith-based agencies from placing foster children after learning the agencies discriminate against LGBT people.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the city Department of Human Services ended foster-care intake with Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Social Services Thursday, pending an investigation by the Commission on Human Relations.

DHS spokeswoman Heather Keafer says 233 children placed with families through the organizations will remain in their homes, but new placements will stop.

The decision follows a previous report by the newspaper that found the agencies would not work with LGBT people or same-sex couples despite receiving city funding. The agencies receive a combined $3 million annually in reimbursement funds from the city.

City contracts prohibit discrimination based on sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.

LGBT discrimination regarding adoption and foster care is a hot button issue in the United States.

A bill that opponents say would allow religious-based adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples, single people and non-Christians has cleared the Oklahoma Senate this week.

Senate Bill 1140 passed 35-9 Tuesday and now heads to the House.

The bill would cover child-placing agencies that block adoptive parents who do not meet the agencies' religious or moral standards.

Republican Sen. Greg Treat sponsored the bill and said it would protect that practice from potential lawsuits.

“Bills such as SB 1140 are a clear attempt to solve a ‘problem’ that simply doesn’t exist while enshrining anti-LGBTQ discrimination into law,” said Marty Rouse, national field director for HRC. “If lawmakers in Oklahoma truly wanted to help find permanent homes for the children in the child welfare system, they wouldn’t be focusing on narrowing the pool of potential parents, which only hurts those kids. HRC calls on the Oklahoma House to reject this needless, harmful bill.”

The Gayly. March 16, 2018. 10:22 a.m. CST.