Distrust underscores the difficulty in forging a solution to a conflict that centers on whether faith-based adoption agencies that receive government funding have a right to refuse to work with same-sex couples seeking to foster and adopt kids.

WASHINGTON — Academics and advocates took first steps recently toward what they hope will be solutions to a high-stakes clash that has dragged child welfare into the culture war over LGBT and religious rights.

Signaling a willingness on the part of religious groups to find a solution, an attorney who had represented faith-based adoption agencies in legal conflicts with LGBT groups declared same-sex couples should not be prevented from fostering or adopting children.

“Gay couples can be fantastic parents and should not be banned from adopting or fostering children,” Stephanie Barclay, former legal counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and