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Cuomo says he’ll fight Trump’s anti-LGBTQ foster care rule 

“No matter what happens in Washington, New York State is — and will continue to be — a beacon of equality in this country."

November 5, 2019 Alex Williamson
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that his office would take legal action to block a Trump administration proposal that would allow foster care and adoption agencies to exclude LGBTQ families on religious grounds.  

“No matter what happens in Washington, New York State is — and will continue to be — a beacon of equality in this country,” he said in a statement. 

The Trump Administration’s proposal would roll back an Obama-era rule prohibiting the Department of Health and Human Services from giving grants to agencies that turn away adoptive parents on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. 

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“This action harms America’s foster children, particularly the 123,000 waiting for adoption,” said Denise Brogan-Kator, chief policy officer at Family Equality, an LGBTQ family advocacy group. “Less than half of these children will find their forever families within a year, yet the administration is acting to make even fewer families available.” 

According to data from the state Office of Children and Family Services, there were 8,631 children in foster care in New York City in 2018. Statewide, there were 15,820. 

Tony Perkins, president of The Family Research Council, a conservative group with a history of anti-gay advocacy, framed the rule change as a protective measure for religious groups. 

“This is tremendous news for children, birth moms and adoptive families who want the opportunity to work with an agency that shares their values and core beliefs — without fear of government discrimination,” Perkins said in a statement Friday. 

Jess Dannhauser, CEO of New York City-based foster care and adoption nonprofit Graham Windham, said the rule would not only discriminate against adoptive parents, but would make it harder for kids in foster care to find homes, adding the rule “blatantly disregards the fact that some children have come into care as a result of the biased treatment they’ve received for being LGBTQ.”

“It’s bigotry on top of bigotry,” Dannhauser told the Brooklyn Eagle in an email. “Excluding families … because they are LGBTQ is not only misguided, it’s hateful.”

Once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register for government agencies, there will be a 30-day public comment period, after which the rule could go into effect. 

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