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Scoop: Trump's plan to let adoption agencies reject same-sex parents

President Trump speaks in the Rose Garden
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Trump administration will soon make it easier for adoption agencies to reject same-sex couples, senior administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump is steadily rolling back Obama-era nondiscrimination policies across the entire federal government — including health care, housing and the military.

Details: Former President Obama banned adoption and foster-care agencies from receiving federal funding if they refused to work with same-sex couples. Religious organizations have consistently bristled at that policy, arguing that they're being forced to contradict their beliefs.

  • Administration officials said the White House is weighing two options: either rescinding those rules altogether, or adding an explicit exemption for religious organizations.
  • The debate is mainly about which approach would hold up better in court, the officials said. A religious exemption seems to have the upper hand for now, but that could change.

Trump alluded to this issue at the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this year, but did not announce a formal policy.

  • The process is now far enough along that an announcement could happen by early July, the officials said.

Between the lines: The formal policy would come from the Health and Human Services Department's Office of Civil Rights — which has been at the forefront of Trump's broader effort to accommodate religious organizations and roll back nondiscrimination rules.

  • The director of that office, Roger Severino, would not directly address questions about the adoption policy during a brief interview, pointing instead to other actions his office has already taken.
  • Just this morning, OCR said it will scrap an Obama-era policy that says doctors can't discriminate against transgender patients. (That policy had already been frozen by a federal judge.) It has also expanded health care workers' legal right to refuse to perform services that violate their religious beliefs.

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