WASHINGTON—Three chairmen of the U.S. Conference ofCatholic Bishops (USCCB) are offering their strong support for the ChildWelfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2017. The Act would prevent the federalgovernment, and any state receiving federal funds for child welfare services, fromtaking adverse action against a provider that, for religious or moral reasons,declines to provide a child welfare social service.
"Our first and most cherished freedom, religious liberty,is to be enjoyed by all Americans, including child welfare providers who servethe needs of children," wrote Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, chairman of theCommittee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop William E. Loriof Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; and BishopJames D. Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion andDefense of Marriage; in letters of support to Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) in theU.S. House of Representatives and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) in the U.S. Senate, whointroduced the bill.
Some faith-based child welfare providers, including inMassachusetts, Illinois, California, and the District of Columbia, have beenexcluded from carrying out adoption and foster care services because theproviders act on their belief that children deserve to be placed with a marriedmother and father. The chairmen said, "The Inclusion Act would remedy thisunjust discrimination by enabling all providers to serve the needs of parentsand children in a manner consistent with the providers' religious beliefs andmoral convictions."
Stressing that the Inclusion Act respects the importanceof parental choice, the chairmen remarked, "Women and men who want to placetheir children for adoption ought to be able to choose from a diversity ofadoption agencies, including those that share the parents' religious beliefsand moral convictions."
The letters of support are available online at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/Ltr-to-Rep-Kelly-Inclusion-Act-2017.pdf and http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/Ltr-to-Sen-Enzi-Inclusion-Act-2017.pdf
A backgrounder on the Inclusion Act is available at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/Backgrounder-Inclusion-Act-2017.pdf
Keywords:U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, federal court, marriage, adoptions, ArchbishopWilliam Lori, Bishop James Conley, Bishop Frank Dewane, Subcommitteefor the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Ad Hoc Committee for ReligiousLiberty, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Child WelfareProvider Inclusion Act, religious freedom, religious liberty, House of Representatives,Senate, Congress
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