Daily Wire

EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Marshall Challenges Proposed HHS Rule That Would Force Foster Parents To Accept ‘Extreme Gender Ideology’

By  Leif Le Mahieu 

Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS) is warning about a proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services that could force foster parents to accept gender ideology and harm religious liberty.

Led by Marshall, a group of Republican senators sent a letter on Thursday to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra expressing concern over a proposed placement rule from HHS that would dictate that minors who identify as LGBT are placed with providers who agree to affirm a child’s gender identity, pronouns, and provide them with “services that are necessary to support their health and wellbeing.”

“Foster care providers’ top priority should be matching vulnerable children with a safe and loving home. Unfortunately, under the Biden Administration, moral and religious values are under attack by the far Left’s endless pursuit to further their LGBTQ+ agenda,” Marshall told The Daily Wire. “We are fighting back against the Biden Administration’s woke gender ideology and pronoun politics. Their new proposed rule aims to exclude faith-based foster care providers from helping children in need — not on my watch.”

Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and John Barrasso (R-WY) also signed on to the letter, first obtained by The Daily Wire, which urges HHS to rescind the rule. The Republicans say that the proposal would make foster parents who want to shield children from gender ideology guilty of “child abuse.”

“The premise of this proposal is that any foster care provider who does not ‘affirm’ a child’s sexual orientation or gender that differs from his or her biological sex is perpetuating and committing child abuse and will be shunned for failing to support the foster child’s ‘health and wellbeing,’” the letter said.

“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. 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,” the senators added.

Additionally, the senators noted that the rule from the Biden administration would require states to place children with sex-specific facilities in line with their “self-identified gender.” The letter said that this “undermines the safety and security of foster youth and is inappropriate, as children are in different stages of their development.”

The letter also raised concerns about what the rule would do for states that work with faith-based foster care organizations. If faith-based organizations do not comply with the proposed placement rule for kids who identify as LGBT, they may be prohibited from working to provide homes for children any longer.

The lawmakers also noted that the rule could cause conflict in states where transgender procedures on children have been banned.

“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 said.

Over a dozen Republican attorneys general have already written to HHS in opposition to the proposed rule. Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said that he would consider suing the administration if the rule goes into effect.