houston, foster, texas, lgbtq, care
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in Texas wants to become a foster care provider to aid the state's struggling foster care system — but only if it can prevent same-sex couples from taking part. (Photo credit: Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston , Alekjds, CC BY 1.0)

Houston Archdiocese Challenges LGBTQ Anti-Discrimination Laws in Foster Care Case

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in Texas wants to become a foster care provider, but only if it is exempt from a federal rule preventing LGBTQ discrimination in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grants. It filed a lawsuit alongside the Texas Attorney General challenging the law on the basis of religious liberties.

The lawsuit says the Catholic institution wants to work with only those who live in accordance with Catholic doctrine, meaning same-sex and unmarried cohabiting couples are out.

But many are drawing attention to Texas’ already-precarious foster care system, saying organizations should not be choosy over the sexual orientation of otherwise-eligible foster parents. In January, there were 29,927 children in foster care in Texas and 3,378 awaiting adoption, according to AdoptUSKids.org. Texas has a shortage of foster home placements, which has led to children spending some nights in state offices.

“When you completely shut the door to many good people because they are same-sex or single parents, it isn’t about fixing capacity, it’s about restricting capacity to certain groups,” Will Francis, executive director for the National Association of Social Workers Texas Chapter, told the Houston Chronicle.

However, the lawsuit claims it is trying to expand foster care providers in the state by involving religious institutions and allowing them to keep their beliefs.

“Some of these providers require potential foster care or adoptive parents to share a religious faith or agree to the provider’s statement of faith,” the lawsuit says. “Some have particular religious views on marriage, gender identity, and sexual orientation. But none of them should be required to forfeit their beliefs as a condition of helping Texas’s most vulnerable children.”

The Obama-era anti-discrimination policy added sexual orientation and gender identity to protected classes under HHS grants. HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced a proposal to roll back the rule for the sake of “ensuring the protection of religious liberty, and to provide that HHS complies with all applicable Supreme Court decisions in administering its grant programs.”

In this latest battle between LGBTQ rights and religious freedom, the archdiocese, Department of Family and Protective Services and the Texas Attorney General’s office seek to clarify that the federal rule only applies to state institutions and not its contractors. The suit claims the rule violates the Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and that it never gave HHS the power to enact the rule.

It is uncommon for a state to side with a religious agency in a lawsuit. Additionally, if the archdiocese wins, it could, like in many other religious liberty cases, raise questions about how far these limitations can go in other areas, like divorce status and affiliation with other religions.

Related Story: Catholic School Guidance Counsellor Fired for Sexual Orientation Suing Archdiocese of Indianapolis for Discrimination

Latest News

Sanofi and GSK will Provide up to 300 Million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the European Union

Originally published on sanofi.com. Sanofi and GSK will provide up to 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the European Union Agreement signed today supports scale-up of manufacturing capabilities in several European countries Vaccine candidate uses Sanofi’s recombinant protein-based technology combined with GSK’s pandemic adjuvant system Sanofi and GSK finalized…

ICE, whistleblower hysterectomies, COVID

ICE Whistleblower Alleges Unnamed Doctor Performing Hysterectomies, Denying COVID Tests to Detainees

At Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainment centers, undocumented detainees are being subjected to “questionable” hysterectomies and are being denied COVID tests, according to a whistleblower. Dawn Wooten, a nurse who worked at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, GA recently filed a whistleblower complaint alleging medical neglect. A…


Launching Nielsen Compass: A World-Leading and Powerful Campaign Outcomes Database

Originally published on nielsen.com. ADVERTISERS, AGENCIES AND PUBLISHERS TO LEVERAGE INSIGHTS FROM WORLD LEADING, OUTCOME MEASUREMENT DATASET TO MAKE DATA-DRIVEN DECISIONS, OPTIMIZE BUDGETS AND PREDICT SALES ROI Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN) today announced that it is launching Nielsen Compass, a powerful, world leading database that leverages the company’s global scale to…

Mastercard Outlines Sustainability Goals

Originally published on mastercardcontentexchange.com. Now is the time to work together to create a better world. If there’s a silver lining to this tumultuous time we’re living through, it’s that the pandemic has shown clearly just how interconnected we all are. The actions of an individual — whether by taking…