WASHINGTON, D.C.— As the American Civil Liberties Union announced the filing of a landmark lawsuit challenging LGBT adoption discrimination practices in Michigan, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) unveiled a national ad and policy report underscoring the potential dangers that adoption-related religious exemption laws pose to children. The “Kids Pay the Price” ad, released in partnership with the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), was targeted to debut on Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, but was rejected by the network. MAP has released the 30-second spot online; the ad can be viewed above.
“Politicians are passing these laws, so it’s important for the public to understand how these laws can hurt kids,” said Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of the Movement Advancement Project. “Fox News Channel’s refusal to air the ad suggests that the consequences kids may experience as a result of these laws are so negative that it’s better to let these laws pass unchecked than to ask news audiences to grapple with how harmful and troubling these laws really are. Sweeping these issues under the rug simply means more kids in harm’s way.”
TV ad: Kids Pay the Price
Laws and practices similar to the those being challenged by the ACLU in Michigan exist in six other states and are being considered nationally This year alone, South Dakota, Alabama and Texas passed legislation permitting state-licensed child welfare agencies to refuse to place and provide services to children and families, if doing so conflicts with their religious beliefs, joining Alabama, North Dakota, Virginia and Michigan for a total of seven states with such laws. Congress is also considering H.R. 1881, a federal bill that would cut federal funding for child welfare services by 15% to any state that passes or enforces nondiscrimination requirements for child services organizations.
MAP’s 30-second ad vividly depicts the kinds of harms children can face when agencies and workers are allowed to prioritize their individual beliefs over the best interest of children. In the ad, a social worker is depicted saying she would rather keep a child in foster care than allow her to be adopted by a qualified gay or lesbian couple; a child placement worker says that a gay or transgender child should be placed with families that support harmful ‘conversion therapy’ practices, and a placement worker says he shouldn’t have to place children in homes that don’t share his belief in “spare the rod, spoil the child.”
The ad concludes with Christine James-Brown, CEO and President of CWLA, speaking out against these harmful laws. CWLA’s mission is to advance policies, best practices and strategies that result in better outcomes for children and families. “We have laws governing child services agencies for a reason,” James-Brown says in the ad. “When states allow adoption decisions to be based on a worker’s individual beliefs, rather than the best interests of children, it’s children who pay the price.”