Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) signed separate letters demanding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rescind a proposed rule they said would discriminate against religious foster parents.

The rule, published in September, requires state agencies to submit plans to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) for approval to receive funds from Title IV of the Social Security Act.

To gain approval, the plans must show that the state will ensure children who identify as LGBTQ are placed with foster care providers who are “trained to be prepared with the appropriate knowledge and skills to provide for the needs of the child related to the child’s self-identified sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.”

The ACF argued that affirming alternate gender identities would “decrease dramatically” the risk of attempted suicide among youth in the foster care system. 

According to Marshall, the rule would not only discriminate against foster care providers with traditional viewpoints but also limit the number of foster homes and impose high costs on states. He added that states need faith-based organizations in their foster care systems. 

“Since the first century, Christians across the globe have answered the call to provide a home and a family to children who had neither,” said Marshall. “Alabama boasts a particularly strong faith-based foster care and adoption community, and I will fight this Administration for them every step of the way.”

Aderholt, along with two other Republican representatives, wrote a separate letter also critical of the proposed policy. Several other Republicans signed onto the letter. 

“The number of children who need homes continues to grow,” Aderholt said. “Yet the number of available foster homes is steadily declining, and the Biden Administration is doing nothing to help with that discrepancy. In fact, the rule proposed by HHS does nothing but harm children in foster care and push an extreme agenda. It’s clear the administration cares only about their radical left party, not about American values, families, or children.”

Aderholt accused the rule of considering a refusal to affirm a child’s gender identity when not aligned with their biological sex a form of “abuse” and argued it could set a negative precedent. 

“The ultimate goal of the child welfare system is to ensure the safety and security of every child,” he continued. “Decreasing the number of opportunities for a child to find a home because of sincerely held religious and moral convictions is harmful and unlawful. We demand that the Biden Administration do what is right.”

“Joe Biden continues to harass our State and others like it by implicitly threatening to withhold federal funding for children in need if we do not conform to his ideology, but our values are not for sale,” concluded Marshall.

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