Masters Thesis

Civil Rights Versus Religious Freedom: An Examination of Policy Narratives

While same-sex marriage has been legal in the United States since 2015, the laws pertaining to LGBTQ+ foster families have been slow to catch up. Currently, only eight states have laws protecting LGBTQ+ foster families from discrimination. Conversely, more and more states are passing legislation known as Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, which allow private foster care and adoption agencies to deny services to LGBTQ+ families based on deeply held religious beliefs. Many opinion pieces have been written on both of these issues. This paper examines policy narratives as they relate to nondiscrimination in foster care and determine which methods have been successful so far. It concluded that both sides used policy narratives in different ways to further their cause. Nondiscrimination laws benefit foster children more than Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, and should be prioritized when making policy.


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