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Marshall leading charge against LGBTQ+ foster home policy

The new rule would require state and tribal title agencies to better accommodate LGBTQ+ youth.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall speaks during a press conference on COVID-19 with Gov. Kay Ivey in April 2020. GOVERNOR's OFFICE/HAL YEAGER

Attorney General Steve Marshall is leading a charge along with several other states seeking to challenge a new federal rule aimed at helping LGBTQ+ youth.

On Monday, Marshall and attorney generals from 18 other states submitted a letter to the Department of Human Health Services opposing a new federal rule. The other states included Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The new rule would require state and tribal title agencies to better accommodate LGBTQ+ youth and place them in foster homes that are deemed safe and appropriate placements for LGBTQ+ children. The requirements for a foster facility to be considered safe and appropriate include establishing an environment free of hostility, mistreatment, or abuse based on the child’s LGBTQ+ status, is trained to be prepared with the appropriate knowledge and skills to provide for the needs of the child related to the child’s self-identified sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, and will facilitate the child’s access to age-appropriate resources, services, and activities that support their health and well-being.

According to Marshall and the other attorney generals, these requirements are discriminatory and violate the rights of Christian or faith-based foster facilities. 

“Since the first century, Christians across the globe have answered the call to provide a home and a family to children who had neither,” Marshall said. “Alabama boasts a particularly strong faith-based foster care and adoption community, and I will fight this Administration for them every step of the way. Joe Biden continues to harass our State and others like it by implicitly threatening to withhold federal funding for children in need if we do not conform to his ideology, but our values are not for sale.”

The letter also argues that the foster system depends on faith-based organizations and without them the system would be in dire circumstances. The new rule would also harm children and LGBTQ+ youth by limiting their family-setting options the attorney generals argue as under the rule they would likely not be placed in faith-based foster homes that did not comply with affirming the sexual orientation or gender identity of children.

Several studies have demonstrated that LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately represented in the foster care system. 

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Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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