Bill prevents discrimination against religious organizations offering welfare services

A GOP bill unveiled this week would ensure that states don't exclude faith-based organizations from offering child welfare services.

The measure offered by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) would prohibit the federal government from taking adverse action against child welfare organizations for declining to provide services that conflict with religious beliefs.

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The Department of Health and Human Services would be authorized to withhold 15 percent of federal funding if a state discriminates against religious child welfare organizations.

Sen. Mike EnziMike EnziOvernight Energy: Obama integrates climate change into national security planning Senate panel approves pension rescue for coal miners GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase MORE (R-Wyo.) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

The lawmakers warned that faith-based organizations could face discrimination otherwise.

"Whether providing adoption services, foster care work or counseling for children, faith-based organizations shouldn’t have to worry that they will be discriminated against because of their religious beliefs," Enzi said in a statement.

"When it comes to helping kids and making families stronger, all service providers — religious or otherwise — should have a seat at the table," Kelly said. "No provider should ever have to forfeit their First Amendment rights in order to create a better life for a child."