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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.


Kids Pay the Price


The U.S. House of Representatives is currently considering an appropriations bill that could cut federal funding for state child welfare services to any state that requires that its taxpayer-funded child welfare providers to not discriminate against families or children in care. The bill would also eliminate federal agencies’ ability to enforce key nondiscrimination provisions on behalf of children and families or other conditions on receipt of federal funds. 

This bill seeks to create a license to discriminate for child welfare providers, prioritizes the interests of providers over the welfare of children, will reduce the likelihood that the most vulnerable children find stability with a foster or adoptive family, and could cut more than $1.04 billion to state child welfare budgets–all of which mean that the more than 395,000 children in the child welfare system across the country will pay the price. Learn more about this dangerous amendment.

This amendment is part of a broader trend to allow child welfare agencies to discriminate.  A growing number of states, including three in 2018 alone, have passed religious exemption laws that allow child welfare workers to reject qualified parents and to put their individual beliefs above the best interests of children. 

Watch the "Kids Pay the Price" ad and then make your voice heard on this important issue. Learn more at Every Child Deserves a Family.

Related Resources


Kids Pay the Price Ad

September 2017 - When states allow child services decisions to be based on religious beliefs and not the best interests of kids, it’s kids who pay the price. Learn more in this powerful new ad from MAP that FOX News Channel refused to air.


Kids Pay the Price: How Religious Exemptions for Child Welfare Services Harm Children

September 2017 - This report details how religious exemptions for child welfare providers hurt children and vulnerable families. Agencies that provide services to children and parents should focus on providing loving, stable homes for children and helping families in need. Instead, these laws encourage and enable adoption agencies and their workers to reject qualified parents who don’t share the agency’s or worker’s religious beliefs.


Infographics: Kids Pay the Price

September 2017 - From the pages of Kids Pay the Price come a set of infographics, including: 'Beyond Michigan,' 'Cost to States,' 'Thousands of Children,' and more.


Religious Exemption Laws

September 2017 - Targeted religious exemptions permit state-licensed child welfare agencies to refuse to place and provide services to children and families, including LGBT people and same-sex couples, if doing so conflicts with their religious beliefs.

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