Sen. Roger Marshall Bill Would Block HHS Rule Forcing Gender Ideology on Foster Parents

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Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) introduced a bill on Wednesday that would block the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from implementing a rule that could keep parents who oppose gender ideology from being able to foster children.

The bill, called the “Protecting Religious Freedom for Foster Families Act,” would prohibit the HHS rule, which would mandate that minors who identify as LGBT are placed with providers who agree to affirm the child’s gender identity and provide “services that are necessary to support their health and wellbeing.” The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and in the House by Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-OK).

“All children in foster care, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve safe and proper placement,” Marshall said in a statement. “This extreme proposal by the HHS instead discriminates against faith-based homes and loving foster parents in pursuit of pushing their radical gender ideology and pronoun politics on religious families.”

The bill would prevent the HHS from finalizing the rule or implementing and enforcing the rule or any other similar measure. 

“This rule would have an especially devastating impact in rural areas across the country, where there are fewer foster care providers than children in need of safe homes,” Marshall added. “This administration needs to leave the politics out of it and help as many kids that need their love, care, and support as possible.”

The Associated Press

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra speaks during an event announcing the launch of the Bureau of Global Health Security and Diplomacy at the State Department, Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Marshall also led several other lawmakers in sending a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in January of 2024, listing several concerns Republicans have with the proposed rule. 

Lawmakers said they are worried the rule could end up preventing Christian foster services from working with states to provide homes for children. 

“If enacted, this proposal would place further strain on the child welfare system and undermine the ability of states to provide safe, stable, and loving homes to our most vulnerable children,” the letter reads. 

All children in foster care, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve a safe and proper placement. However, this proposal goes beyond statutory requirements to force states to adopt extreme gender ideology in their placement decisions,” the letter continues. “Congress intentionally gave states the authority to make those determinations, but HHS has usurped that authority to impose its own woke ideology in place of states’ judgments.”

Lawmakers also warned the proposed rule may conflict with states where sex-change drugs and mutilating surgeries have been outlawed for minors. 

“These procedures can cause irreparable harm to children, many of whom have inconsistent parental guidance and lack the physiological development that is necessary to make an informed decision of such consequence. States should not be penalized for acting to protect the children of their state,” the letter reads.

Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow her on X @thekat_hamilton.


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