Foster care and adoption agencies will soon be able to legally refuse their services to families in the LGBTQ+ community if a new rule put forth by the Trump administration goes into effect. 

On Friday (November 1), the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed a rule that would reverse a 2016 discrimination regulation that included sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. Per the HHS:

The proposed rule represents the Trump administration’s strong commitment to the rule of law—the Constitution, federal statutes and Supreme Court decisions. These require that the federal government not infringe on religious freedom in its operation of HHS grant programs and address the impact of regulatory actions on small entities.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere told The Hill in an interview: “The administration is rolling back an Obama-era rule that was proposed in the 12 o’clock hour of the last administration that jeopardizes the ability of faith-based providers to continue serving their communities. The federal government should not be in the business of forcing child welfare providers to choose between helping children and their faith.”

The majority of the more than 400,000 children in the foster care system are people of color, according to a 2017 report, with 23 percent of them identified as Black, 21 percent as Latinx and 9 percent listed as “other races/multiracial.”

Reports The New York Times:

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law estimated in a report that 114,000 same-sex couples in 2016 were raising children in the United States. Same-sex couples with children were far more likely than different-sex couples with children to have an adopted child, 21.4 percent versus 3 percent, the report found.

Alphonso David, president of Human Rights Campaign, called the proposal “horrific” in a statement and also said it would “permit discrimination across the entire spectrum of HHS programs receiving federal funding. The Trump-Pence White House is relying on the same flawed legal reasoning they’ve used in the past to justify discrimination against LGBTQ people and other communities.”

The rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register on Monday (November 4), after which there will be a 30-day comment period and an effective date for the rule unless a legal challenge halts implementation.