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Photo: Christian K. Lee/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Bethany Christian Services, one of the U.S.'s largest adoption and foster agencies, said Monday it will begin offering services to LGBTQ parents nationwide, effective immediately, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: It's a major shift for the 77-year-old evangelical organization which has traditionally referred LGBTQ parents to other agencies. The change comes as cities and states increasingly require agencies to work with LGBTQ parents at the risk of losing government contracts.

What they're saying: "We will now offer services with the love and compassion of Jesus to the many types of families who exist in our world today," Chris Palusky, the organization's president and chief executive wrote in an email per NYT. "We’re taking an 'all hands on deck' approach where all are welcome."

  • "It got to a point where it became really untenable to have this patchwork of practices," Nathan Bult, senior vice president of public and government affairs, told NYT. "Bethany was ready and Christians are ready."
  • Bethany facilitated 3,406 foster placements and 1,123 adoptions in 2019, according to NYT.

Bethany's position statement since 2007 has been that "God's design for the family is a covenant and lifelong marriage of one man and one woman."

  • Its inclusivity resolution, passed Jan. 21, eliminated the position statement on marriage between one man and one woman, but does not mention or endorse same-sex relationships.
  • Prior to Monday's announcement, Bethany referred gay couples to other agencies, though the practice was not official and branches in 12 states were already working with LGBTQ families as of last year.

The big picture: Over 20% of same-sex couples with children have an adopted child, compared to 3% of straight couples, according to a 2016 report from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

  • Gay couples are also significantly more likely than straight couples to foster a child.
  • Though some faith-based agencies have challenged requirements in courts, between 2009 and 2019, white evangelical support for same-sex marriage nearly doubled from 2009 to 2019, Pew Research Center reports.

Go deeper

Rare bipartisan Senate vote advances measure to address anti-Asian hate crimes

Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) (left) and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) introduced the anti-Asian hate crimes legislation. Photos: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket and Shawn Thew/Pool via Getty Images

In a rare bipartisan vote of 92-6, the Senate advanced legislation aimed at improving anti-Asian hate crime tracking and identification.

Why it matters: The bill had looked initially unlikely to garner the 60 votes necessary to end debate and move to a final vote. But Republicans decided to not filibuster, in part because Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose wife Elaine Chao is Taiwanese American, signaled openness to working on it with Democrats prior to final passage, the Associated Press reports.

3 hours ago - Health

J&J vaccine pause will have minimal impact on local vaccine rollout

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pause on administering Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine isn’t expected to have a huge impact on vaccine rollout across local communities.

Why it matters: Like the country writ large, most localities have vaccinated the vast majority of their citizens with the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna shots, which have more than enough supply to fill the gaps caused by the J&J pause.

House panel approves bill to grant D.C. statehood

Photo: GHI/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The House Oversight Committee on Wednesday advanced legislation that would make Washington, D.C. the 51st state, setting the stage for a vote by the full chamber for the second year in a row.

Why it matters: Statehood for the District is a priority for Democrats that will likely clear the House largely along party lines like it did last year, but it faces a much tougher path in the divided Senate, where it would need 60 votes.