Trump Administration no longer protects LGBT couples from discrimination in adoption

Last month, the Trump administration proposed a new rule that would allow all adoption agencies receiving federal funds to deny service on faith-based grounds.

This new rule, released by the Department of Health and Human Services, roles back one of President Obama’s major accomplishments: opened the door for LGBTQ couples to fulfill dreams of becoming parents through adoption.

“This law can not only affect members of the LGBTQ community’s ability to adopt a child, but could also affect their chances to get health care,” said Dr. Elsa M. Orlandini, a psychologist in Miami Beach who specializes in parenting and family issues for the LGBTQ community.  “There is a lot that these people could lose because of this rule.”

The LGBTQ community has had many wins against discrimination in recent years, starting with the legalization of same-sex marriages in the United States in 2015.

“I’ve been living in Miami for a long time now, and I’ve seen so many battles fought by the LGBTQ community,” said Hector M. Duenas, a 56-year-old Cuban American who identifies himself as gay. “What identifies us is that we don’t stop. We will continue to fight until we all have the rights we deserve as humans.”

Today, societal acceptance and support are greater than before, giving all members of this community the freedom to live their lives in the way they see fit. “People are coming out more these days than before because of how much society has changed regarding this taboo,” said Dr. Orlandini. “It is important that everyone feels protected and accepted in the society they live in.”

But since President Trump took office in January 2017, his administration has changed many rulings by the previous administration, affecting not only foreign policy, trade and immigration, but the LGBTQ community as well.

South Florida includes one of the country’s most prominent LGBTQ communities, with more than 4 percent of the national population, according to a study conducted by Williams Institute of UCLA School of Law in 2016.  A law like this could mean that many LGBTQ couples waiting to start a family through adoption would most likely get rejected, if the agencies put their beliefs before the children’s needs.

For LGBTQ people, social acceptance is important when it comes to forming a family. According to a fact sheet presented by the Family Equality Council in 2017, more than 2 million children (younger than 18) have been raised by an LGBTQ parent and approximately 200,000 of them were raised by a same-sex couple.

“They should give us a chance,” said Daniel Iturria, a 30-year-old Miami resident who identifies himself as gay. “They think we are different and we are not; we are just trying to find our place in this world.”

In addition, the study posted by the Williams Institute of UCLA School of Law states that same-sex couples are more likely to raise adopted or foster children than different-sex couples are.

“This rule could shutter a lot of accomplishments that the LGBTQ community achieved throughout the years,” said Orlando Gonzales, executive director for SAVE in Miami, an organization dedicated to protecting LGBTQ people against discrimination. “It not only affects the LGBTQ community but what about the children waiting in foster care to be adopted by a family who can love them?” asked Gonzalez. “It affects the community as a whole.”

Alexandra Moreno was born and raised in Peru. She now lives in Miami.