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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

Watch the ad, rejected by Fox News as “too powerful,”
showing how kids pay the price
when child service agencies are allowed to discriminate.

"Kids Pay the Price" is new TV ad that depicts the kinds of harms children can face when adoption agencies and workers are exempted from following key child welfare laws based on individual beliefs.

The ad, which Fox News Channel refused to air, was created by the Movement Advancement Project and released in partnership with the Child Welfare League of America and the National Association of Social Workers, alongside a companion report, Kids Pay the Price: How Religious Exemptions for Child Welfare Agencies Harm Children. The ad and report coincide with an ACLU lawsuit challenging Michigan’s practice of allowing state-funded child-placing agencies to turn away prospective families headed by same-sex couples based on religious objections.

Currently, there are 428,000 children in state care in the U.S., with more than 100,000 of them awaiting adoption. Unfortunately, a growing number of states (including Texas, South Dakota, Alabama, Michigan, North Dakota, Mississippi and Virginia) 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. Meanwhile, Congress is considering legislation that would cut child welfare funding to states that require agencies to not discriminate. To watch the "Kids Pay the Price" ad and read the new report describing these disturbing new adoption laws, check out the links below or visit our partners’ websites.

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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