U.S. Bishops Back “Inclusion Act,” Which Seeks to Exclude LGBT Adoptive Parents

Attempting to redefine what inclusion means, the U.S. bishops endorsed the U.S. House of Representatives’ “Inclusion Act,” which aims to protect social services agencies who exclude same-gender couples from being foster or adoptive parents. Crux reported:

“Three bishops, in a joint letter to the measure’s sponsor, voiced their support of the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, which would permit social service agencies to refuse on religious grounds to provide adoption or foster services for households headed by same-sex couples.”


USCCB headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The three church leaders behind the letter–Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida; Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore;  and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska–are the respective chairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Religious Liberty;and the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

Bishops claim the Act, if passed, would advance religious liberty by ending “unjust discrimination” against those providers who deny services to people based on the agency’s religious and moral beliefs. The bishops also claimed:

“‘Women and men who want to place their children for adoption ought to be able to choose from a diversity of adoption agencies, including those that share the parents’ religious beliefs and moral convictions.'”

Controversies about adoption rights have increased in the last decade as more jurisdictions legalize same-gender couples’ rights to marriage or civil unions. In the U.S., Catholic Charities and other church-related agencies have stopped providing adoption services in Massachusetts, Illinois, and the District of Columbia because as government-funded organizations they could not exclude LGBT clients.

Church institutions elsewhere have followed a similar pattern despite more supportive stances held by Catholics in the pews. The Missionary Sisters of Charity, the community which Mother Teresa founded, stopped facilitating adoptions in 2015 because they feared single gay people would become parents. Scotland’s St. Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society successfully attained the right to discriminate against LGBT clients. And, according to an unconfirmed report from one of Malta’s bishops, Pope Francis was “shocked” in 2014 to find out that same-gender couples could be granted adoption rights in the island nation.

[Editor’s note: a follow-up post on Bondings 2.0 later this week will dig deeper into the intricacies in these issues by exploring a story from Australia about Catholic parents, LGBT rights, and adoption.]

Given the U.S. political environment, including Judge Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the Supreme Court, it is uncertain whether the so-called Inclusion Act will succeed. But even if the legislation fails, there is a larger issue for Catholics at play. We must not allow the rich concept of inclusion, a defining value of Jesus’ ministry, to be hijacked by church officials for their LGBT-negative agenda.

Real inclusion, in the law and in the church, would recognize that the greater good is for children to be in loving homes, and for families to be strengthened by the protections and assistance which the State can offer. Those ideals are deeply rooted in the Catholic social tradition. It is from these places from which we should be the basis of Catholic adoption policy.

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, April 18, 2017

New Ways Ministry’s Eighth National Symposium, Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis, is scheduled for April 28-30, 2017, Chicago, Illinois. Plenary speakers:  Lisa Fullam, Leslie Griffin, Rev. Bryan Massingale, Frank Mugisha. Prayer leaders:  Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Bishop John Stowe, OFM, Conv.  Pre-Symposium Retreat Leader:  Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS.  For more information and to register, visit www.Symposium2017.org.


0 replies
  1. Thomas
    Thomas says:

    On one day, we read of a bishop in Ireland who is supportive, and on too many other days, we can read of measure like this , supported by bishops with a different perspective. There are plenty of children raised in homes with a mother and father who don’t know love or the simplest forms of nurturing. Being the biological parent, or being straight , doesn’t always make for good parenting. These bishops , childless themselves, need to reassess their thinking.

  2. Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM
    Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM says:

    I am very disturbed by this. Once again my brothers are more concerned about the preservation of an institution that rewards them with power, than with honoring the spiritual gift of love that God has bestowed to those who foster and adopt children.

  3. Jim McCrea
    Jim McCrea says:

    I’m sure that this article will be followed by comments of dismay, despair, disgust, shock ad nauseum.
    Remember this: blessed are those who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.
    Expect nothing from these people and move on to a real life.

  4. Friends
    Friends says:

    So we have: “[T]he Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act”, which would permit social service agencies to EXCLUDE adoption or foster services for households headed by same-sex couples.” So “inclusion” now morphs into “exclusion”? There once was a man named George Orwell…who authored a legendary book called “1984”. The technique of deception at play here is called “doublespeak”. Google the word for a full explication. Our alleged religious “leaders” owe the Church much better (and much more respectful) treatment than this.

  5. pjnugent
    pjnugent says:

    Reading the bishops’ letter they attribute a neat trick to Representative Kelly. They thank him for introducing the bill in the SENATE. . Poor quality staff work. Picky point. but perhaps it demonstrates the degree of care with which they’ve considered the issue.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] which begins today and runs until July 4th.  In April, the USCCB supported the so-called “Inclusion Act,” a federal bill that would allow religiously-affiliated social service providers to […]

  2. […] of Catholic Bishops supported similar legislation at the federal level, saying the proposed “Inclusion Act” would end “unjust discrimination” currently imposed on Catholic social service […]

  3. […] instances, Catholic involvement has only exacerbated the complexity and pain of such situations. Yesterday, Bondings 2.0 reported on the U.S. bishops’ support for legislation that would allow social […]

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