ICYMI: Kelly Bill to Protect Religious Liberty of Adoption Agencies Featured in The Hill

Jul 6, 2015
ICYMI: Kelly Bill to Protect Religious Liberty of Adoption Agencies Featured in The Hill

‘Inclusion Act’ would ensure all child welfare providers in America can keep operating regardless of their religious beliefs

WASHINGTON — Legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) to defend religious liberty against government discrimination was featured by The Hill in an article titled, “Faith groups press GOP for response to marriage ruling.” The bill, the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2015 (H.R. 1299, also known as “the Inclusion Act”), would prohibit the federal and state governments from discriminating against faith-based child welfare service providers such as adoption agencies and foster care centers because of their sincerely held religious beliefs. The Senate companion to this bill was introduced by U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY).

Excerpt from the article:

Congressional Republicans are coming under pressure to respond to the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage when they return to Washington next week.

Religious organizations aligned with the GOP are concerned the government will punish them for opposing same-sex marriage, and want lawmakers to put in place new protections for people with faith-based objections.

Another piece of religious freedom legislation — the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act sponsored by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa) — would protect religious adoption agencies.

“Catholic adoption agencies will probably go out of business if they’re told by the federal government they must place children in gay marriages, because that’s against their religious convictions,” said Tim Chapman, who heads up the lobbying efforts at the Heritage Foundation.

While most of the focus from religious groups is on the First Amendment Defense Act, the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act has attracted nine co-sponsors in the Senate and 78 in the House.

“You shouldn’t be discriminated against because of your religious beliefs,” Kelly told The Hill.

BACKGROUND: Rep. Kelly and Sen. Enzi introduced the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2015 in the House and Senate respectively on March 4, 2015, after governmental entities in Massachusetts, California, Illinois, and the District of Columbia in recent years denied contracts to faith-based organizations based on their inability to provide certain services which violate their religious convictions.

On January 13, 2015, Rep. Kelly delivered a public address on this legislation at the Heritage Foundation as part of the 2015 Conservative Policy Summit. The event can be viewed here.