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In this photo taken March 14, 2016, a rainbow flag flies above the US Capitol building in Washington, DC.
The US Justice Department announced Friday that it will donate $1 million to fight discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, including through adoption services.
The DOJ is calling for the “adoption community” to develop a “plan of action” to fight prejudice against the LGBT community.
US Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the House Judiciary Committee that the DOJ is “disappointed” in the DOJ’s decision.
Lynch said the decision to fund adoption and foster care agencies was “not appropriate”.
US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Rod Rosenstein said he hopes the $1m will go towards providing “additional services to those in need”.
“We recognize that this is an important step in our fight against discrimination, but we believe it’s also important to continue to expand the range of services available to LGBT families in our country,” Rosenstein said.
Rosenstein said the department has “serious concerns” about discrimination against LGBT people, but that there is a need for additional services to combat the “burden that prejudice can place on our communities and on our country.”
He said the DOJ will use the money to improve the adoption services for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
“Adoption is not just a choice,” Rosenstein added.
“It’s an option that families have to make.
And I want us to have those services.”
US Attorney Rosenstein said a “big part” of his office’s efforts would be to “increase our capacity to identify and prevent adoptions that are not in the best interest of children”.
He said that the Department of Justice is also providing funding for more state and local government agencies to help fight prejudice.
“The Department of the Interior is taking a proactive approach to addressing prejudice against LGBT Americans, and will provide additional funding to local governments that have adopted LGBT protections into law,” a statement said.
The statement said the US Justice department “strongly supports adoption agencies working to support adoptive families” and the adoption community.
In the wake of the DOJ announcement, the US Chamber of Commerce urged its members to donate to the LGBT-rights group, saying the decision “is a setback for the LGBT movement and a disappointment for the American public.”
US Chamber spokesperson Jennifer Peczkowski told ABC News: “We are disappointed that the federal government has chosen to end its relationship with the adoption industry.
The federal government should continue to support states and local governments in their efforts to protect children and families, but it should also not continue to interfere in adoption agencies’ decision-making.”
“We hope the government will re-examine its relationship and take steps to ensure that these important jobs remain available for families and their children.”
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a statement that it is “deeply disappointed by the DOJ decision”.
“The US Department’s decision will negatively impact the adoption workforce in every state, and has the potential to negatively impact our ability to assist our states with the most vulnerable children in their care,” the statement said, adding that “the agency is committed to working with Congress to make changes to the federal child welfare system to ensure our adoptive care workforce can continue to provide the best services for families.”
“Adoptive families and adoptive parents should be able to find the best and most affordable alternatives for their children,” USDA said.
“As a matter of policy, the Department continues to support the right to adopt, including adoption agencies that comply with the federal adoption laws.”
In 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union of California (ACLU) filed a complaint against the US Department and the DOJ alleging that they “have engaged in an unprecedented pattern of racial discrimination, using racially discriminatory and unlawful practices to discriminate against the gay, gay and bisexual population”.
The complaint said that “many of the government agencies that receive federal grants have failed to comply with state laws that require them to treat LGBT people fairly”.
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) also said that DOJ “has continued to fail to meet its obligations to ensure the civil rights of LGBT Americans” and “has failed to adequately protect the civil liberties of its employees, contractors and contractors who work in federal agencies”.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it “will continue to work with the government and its agencies to ensure fair and nondiscriminatory employment practices in all areas of employment”.
It also said it would continue to “ensure that agencies that provide critical services to the lesbian, LGBTQ, and bisexual community do so in a manner that respects the civil and human rights of their employees and contractors”.
“As the nation’s largest provider of domestic partner adoption services, DHS will continue to make progress to ensure these services are available to all eligible couples,” the agency said.
In January, the White House said that it was “disheartened” by the decision, and