US bishops back bill to let agencies opt out of gay adoption

(CNS) 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.

The bishops, who chair three US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committees, called it a “needed bill.”

“The Inclusion Act protects the freedom of all child welfare providers by ensuring they will not be discriminated against by the government because of their religious beliefs or moral convictions,” said the April 10 letter, signed by Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, NE, chair of the bishops’ Subcommittee for the Defense and Promotion of Marriage; and Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, FL, chairman of their Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

“The act prevents the federal government and states that receive federal funds for child welfare services from excluding child welfare providers who believe that children deserve to be placed with a married mother and father,” the three bishops said in the letter to Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pennsylvania. [More]