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Christians, Other Religious Families May Be Denied Participation in Foster Care

California’s most vulnerable children may find new obstacles in securing foster care placements if Senator Scott Wiener’s (D-San Francisco) SB 407 is signed into law. The bill, as originally written, would bar any foster parents who don’t align with the Democrats’ views on what is considered “best practices for providing adequate care” to so-called “homosexual” or gender-confused children – even if the foster child does not even know what these things are.

Foster care advocates have called the legislation discriminatory and an unnecessary hindrance to families who want to serve the thousands of kids needing homes. As of September 1, SB 407 was amended in the Assembly to soften some of the restrictive language, but Wiener has made his intentions clear.

Greg Burt, Capitol Director for the California Family Council, said in response to the bill’s introduction earlier this year, “Foster parents with biblical and traditional views about gender and sexuality provide loving and stable homes to thousands of California foster kids. Yet Senator Wiener and other [homosexual] activists want to force these parents to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs in order to continue to serve the needs of these vulnerable kids.”

In Massachusetts, families with biblical values are already denied the opportunity to serve foster children. The Washington Examiner reported last month on a lawsuit in which Mike and Kitty Burke, foster parent applicants who, during “an exhaustive screening process,” were given “high marks and glowing comments” by state agents, “but the state turned them down because their Catholic ‘faith is not supportive’ of the state’s promotion of transgender medical procedures. The Burkes’ beliefs on sexuality were the sole reason for the denial.”

A similar attempt to exclude biblical families from fostering was struck down in Pennsylvania back in 2021. In that case, the Court found the city of Philadelphia violated Catholic Social Services’ (CSS) right to free speech by requiring the group to certify same-sex married couples. Justice Roberts wrote, “Government fails to act neutrally when it proceeds in a manner intolerant of religious beliefs or restricts practices because of their religious nature.”

“In view of the discrimination directed towards families such that they can never be eligible to foster children unless they accept government orthodoxy relative to [homosexuality and other perversions], SB 407 strays from neutrality and general applicability to a degree that it cannot be squared with the Supreme Court’s holding in Fulton [v. City of Philadelphia, 141 S. Ct. 1868 (2021)],” wrote Kevin T. Snider, chief counsel for the Pacific Justice Institute, in opposition to SB 407.

The Court continued, “CSS seeks only an accommodation that will allow it to continue serving the children of Philadelphia in a manner consistent with its religious beliefs; it does not seek to impose those beliefs on anyone else. The refusal of Philadelphia to contract with CSS for the provision of foster care services unless it agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster parents cannot survive strict scrutiny, and violates the First Amendment.”

Even so, California, and specifically Wiener, has not relented in a legislative strategy to expand homosexual involvement in the foster care system while restricting parental rights in favor of the state.

Last year, Wiener passed and Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law SB 107, which allows a minor to travel to California to receive various treatments, including hormone therapies that could leave them sterilized and, in some cases, life-altering surgeries on breasts and genitals, against even a single parent’s objections.

This year, AB 957 (Wilson, D-Suisun City; co-authored by Wiener) is progressing rapidly through the legislature. It would require family courts to consider “a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity or gender expression” when making custody and visitation decisions.

The California Catholic Daily wrote recently about what affirmation means: “facilitating pharmaceutical and surgical interventions.”

This radical agenda is being introduced as 46,214 kids in California need foster families.

“California already has a shortage of foster parents, but the Senator [Wiener] doesn’t seem to care if his bill chases potential foster parents away,” says Burt with the California Family Council.

Among those potential foster parents are relatives of foster children. According to a 2020 national foster care capacity report sponsored by iFoster and supported by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption titled, “Who Cares: A National Count of Foster Homes and Families,” relatives are an increasingly significant piece of the care puzzle, growing 36 percent over the last decade.

In California, the number of foster youth living with a relative was 34 percent, up from 27 percent in 2010. Forcing foster parents to affirm a non-traditional view of sexuality would ban a child’s own family members from welcoming him or her into their home.

Twice as many children are in foster care in California than in the next highest states, Florida (21,808), Illinois (20,815), and Texas (21,691). (For more data, visit fostercarecapacity.com.) Half of California’s foster care population resides in Los Angeles County.

Advocacy group PERK submitted this statement in opposition to AB 957, the family court bill: “A parent’s ability to love, care for, and provide a safe environment for the child should be the focus of concern. Custody and visitation rights for parents should not be based on a minor’s gender identity or the parent’s support of how their minor child identifies. Furthermore, a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity does not determine if the parent is a safe or appropriate option compared to their counterpart. The health, safety, and welfare of the child requires consideration of a variety of issues, some having more weight than others, as not all families are in the same situations. It is irresponsible not to side with parents who have valid concerns and err on the side of caution for the child’s health and wellbeing.”

For more information on the bills mentioned in this article and others affecting children, visit https://www.perk-group.com/take-action.


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