ST. PAUL — U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., is putting forth a bill in Congress prohibiting taxpayer-funded child welfare and adoptive services from discriminating against families based on sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or marital status.

According to a Wednesday, May 26, news release, the bipartisan John Lewis Every Child Deserves a Family Act aims to end anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in publicly funded foster care and adoptive services, and increase the number of homes available to children in need.

At a Wednesday news conference, the District 2 representative said the bill is “an especially important piece of legislation to me and my family”: When Craig and her wife were adopting their eldest son 23 years ago, they were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, and fought in court for three years.

“Our adoption experience was defined by that struggle and it nearly cost me the opportunity to raise my oldest child,” Craig said. “It was the most heartbreaking experience of my life. Every day for almost three years, we woke up not knowing whether Josh would be in our house in our arms that night to tuck into bed.”

Craig said prospective LGBTQ+ families “who want nothing more than to open up their home and create a loving environment for a child” shouldn’t be prevented from fostering or adopting “just for who they love or how they identify.”

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Before he died in 2020, the bill’s namesake U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, carried the bill with Craig in the 116th Congress. Lewis was also an adoptive parent.

This year, Craig is joined by U.S. Reps. Danny Davis, D-Ill., and Jenniffer González-Colón, R-Puerto Rico, on the bill as well as U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, in the Senate.