The executive branch delivered an enormous victory for religious freedom last week when the President reversed an anti-religious ruling from the Obama administration. Days before President Trump took the oath of office, President Obama declared that faith-based adoption and foster care agencies would be required to place children in same-sex households despite any religious convictions the agencies held.

The sad outcome of this ruling was that many faith-based adoption agencies were forced to choose between violating their sincerely held religious beliefs or shutting down; most chose the latter. A decade earlier, Massachusetts implemented a similar rule, forcing Catholic Charities in Boston to close despite them having a 100-year positive track record and having placed more children in homes than any other agency in the state. LGBTQ activists argue the Obama-era ruling is necessary to open up more potential homes for children. The ruling actually had the opposite effect, however, as thousands of foster children were left in need when faith-based adoption agencies were pushed out.

Our current president’s rule change is a giant step in the right direction toward protecting religious freedom while ensuring children in need have as many resources as possible available to them. As this excerpt points out, faith-based agencies feel called by God to look after widows and orphans, making them particularly invested caregivers:

 “The U.S. faces a crisis when it comes to children. The foster-care system is burdened, with children who need parents enduring tragically long waits for placement. Genuine civic pluralism means everyone—secularists, atheists and agnostics, along with religious people of all sorts—should care about these children. Why exclude those [people of faith] who are the most motivated?” 

Eliminating faith-based agencies should never be an option; it doesn’t help children, and it violates the First Amendment. Rather, Massachusetts should follow the administration’s lead and partner with these organizations to ensure the best possible outcomes for children in need.