PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Today the Southern Poverty Law Center launched “Fostering Hate,” the third episode from season three of its latest Sounds Like Hate podcast series. The stories you will hear corroborate that discrimination harms children most, not same-sex parenting and not sexual preference.
“It was heartbreaking to learn that hate and fear could harm children who are already in so much pain and turmoil. My hope is that everyone who listens understands what’s at stake and how cruel and unfair it is to deny same sex couples the opportunity to love these children,” says Yvonne Latty.
Ensuring children feel safe, cared for, and welcomed shouldn’t be a controversial issue. But today’s episode proves that laws governing child services agencies exist for good reason, as our award winning independent journalists/producers Jamila Paksima and Latty follow the progression of the Fulton v. City of Philadelphia case through the story of one family. Samantha Bannon walks us through her experience and how discriminating on the basis of race, religion or in this case, sexual orientation, can disenfranchise children who only seek a loving and affirming home. We also see how organizations use taxpayer money to illegally fund their own biases by refusing to place children with LGBTQ people.
“Some of our most vulnerable children in America are in our foster care systems. They have already endured traumatic childhoods and are now potentially being deprived of good homes because one religious institution believes they have the right to discriminate against LGBTQ prospective families,” says Paksima. “This is a very disturbing path. There is local legislation already passing in some states to make discrimination based on faith lawful. Since when can religious organizations and institutions start defining who makes up a family and what a stable family in America looks like?”
This is evidenced in the Growmillers’ origin story, yet another LGBTQ foster family trying to navigate a system, as the men soon discovered how homophobic and toxic their required foster parent trainings were. As more Philadelphia youth identify as LGBTQ, the couple began publicly sharing their story to encourage more affirming foster parents to open their homes.
“The focus needs to be on the interests and well-being of the children,” said Susan Corke, Director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. “Full stop. Taxpayer funds for health and human services must NOT be used in ways that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, race, or other immutable characteristics. How we treat our children and our families is how we should be judged as a democratic society.”
Episode two of “Fostering Hate” airs on Nov. 16. We’ll chat with Nia and Azair, who share their personal stories about the consequences of being placed in a non-affirming home – along with lessons in finding and accepting yourself even when others won’t.
All of the guests featured in “Fostering Hate,” hosts Jamila and Yvonne, and Susan Corke, are available for interviews.
The podcast can be found at: https://soundslikehate.org/ Sounds Like Hate is produced by Until 20, LLC, for The Southern Poverty Law Center.