A Christian children’s home is suing the Biden administration because it doesn’t want to place children with LGBT+ families.
The Holston United Methodist Home for Children in Greeneville, Tennessee, is a home which cares for children and helps them find adoptive families and foster care placements.
It is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, which believes that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching”, and that “sexual relations are affirmed only within the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage”.
The protections mean that any service that receives funding from the government’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is banned from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Last month, HHS announced that it was doing away with any waivers that allowed discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.
But the Holston United Methodist Home for Children is determined to discriminate against queer families while still receiving federal funding.
According to Newsweek, the children’s home filed a lawsuit at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee on Thursday (2 December), arguing that the discrimination protections violate its first amendment right to religious freedom.
The home is represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Southern Poverty Law Centre-designated anti-LGBT+ hate group.
ADF senior counsel Matt Bowman insisted that the “Biden administration is acting swiftly to exclude faith-based agencies from programmes that provide loving homes to children in need”, which he said “harms kids” and is “an illegal attack on religious freedom”.
But United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, who is named in the lawsuit, has said he is “committed” to making sure that religious waivers are not allowed when it comes to discrimination protections.
Announcing the reversal of the waivers, Becerra said in a statement: “HHS reaffirms its important commitment to core American values: HHS will not condone the blanket use of religious exemptions against any person or blank checks to allow discrimination against any persons, importantly including LGBT+ persons in taxpayer-funded programs.
“The waivers are inconsistent with the department’s critical goal of combating discrimination based on religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”