Alabama AG Steve Marshall Leads Charge: Against Proposed Foster Care Rule, Defending Christian Families Rights

Alabama AG Steve Marshall Leads Charge: A coalition of Republican attorneys general, led by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, is urging the Biden administration to reconsider a proposed rule that they argue would exclude Christian families from fostering kids, putting the foster care system at risk across the nation.

In a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, Marshall and 18 colleagues contend that the new rule, known as Safe and Appropriate Foster Care Placement Requirements, violates the Constitution by discriminating against Christian families. The rule mandates that foster parents acknowledge a foster child’s identified pronouns, chosen name, and allow the child to express their self-identified gender identity through age-appropriate dress.

The attorneys general argue that this rule indirectly seeks to remove faith-based providers from the foster care system, echoing concerns raised by the Supreme Court in 2021 in the case of Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. The Supreme Court ruled that Philadelphia’s requirement for a Catholic social services group to certify same-sex couples as foster parents violated the First Amendment.

The letter emphasizes the potential harm caused by the proposed rule, asserting that it could limit the number of available foster homes, jeopardize kinship placements, increase costs, and reduce care options. The attorneys general argue that caring for children in need is a duty of the Christian faith, and the foster care system relies on individuals and organizations of faith.

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They highlight examples from states like Arkansas, where a faith-based group recruited nearly half of the foster homes, and New Mexico, where every private placement agency is Christian. The attorneys general reference studies indicating that foster parents recruited through religious organizations foster children for a longer duration than the average foster parent, and practicing Christians are three times more likely to consider fostering.

The letter concludes with a statement from Attorney General Marshall, accusing President Biden of harassing Alabama and other states by threatening to withhold federal funding for children in need based on ideological conformity. Marshall pledges to defend Alabama’s strong faith-based foster care and adoption community against the administration’s actions.

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