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Religious adoption agencies sue Michigan to avoid same-sex parents

Patrick Kelleher April 16, 2019
Religious adoption agencies sue Michigan to avoid same-sex parents

LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty

Religious adoption agencies are suing the state of Michigan so they can avoid placing children in homes with LGBT+ parents.

A lawsuit was filed yesterday by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty on behalf of St Vincent’s Catholic Charities and other faith-based adoption agencies in the state.

The groups claim that a recent settlement—which banned the state of Michigan from having contracts with adoption agencies who refuse LGBT+ people—is infringing upon their rights.

Religious adoption agencies say they would rather close their doors than work with same-sex couples

Now, the groups say they would rather close their doors completely than allow LGBT+ people to adopt children. They are suing the state of Michigan and their lawsuit claims that the settlement is infringing upon their first amendment rights and their right to religious freedom.

Melissa Buck, a mother of five children with special needs who adopted through St Vincent’s, is fighting alongside the agency in court.

“Discrimination in the provision of foster care case management and adoption services is illegal, no matter the rationale.”

– Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel

“We are hopeful that the courts will step in, do the right thing and allow faith-based agencies to continue to help vulnerable families like mine,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mark Rienzi, president at Becket, said: “Faith-based agencies like St. Vincent consistently do the best work because of their faith, and we need more agencies like them helping children—not fewer. The actions by the Attorney General of Michigan do nothing but harm the thousands of at-risk children in desperate need of loving homes.”

Religious adoption agencies sue Michigan to avoid same-sex parents
Chip Somodevilla/Getty

The ACLU sued Michigan in 2017 over its contracts with religious agencies that discriminated against LGBT+ people

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) originally filed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan in 2017 for allowing adoption agencies to refuse same-sex couples.

The state pays private agencies to provide child welfare services such as adoption and fostering, and—up until recently—those agencies were allowed to make decisions based on their religious ethos.

However, Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel last month announced that they had settled a case involving same-sex parents who had been discriminated against by the faith-based adoption agencies.

Under the terms of the settlement, the state agreed to enforce non-discrimination provisions. As a part of this, they said they would terminate contracts with religious agencies who refused to deal with LGBT+ people.

“Discrimination in the provision of foster care case management and adoption services is illegal, no matter the rationale,” Nessel said.

“Limiting the opportunity for a child to be adopted or fostered by a loving home not only goes against the state’s goal of finding a home for every child, it is a direct violation of the contract every child placing agency enters into with the state.”

More: adoption, anti lgbt, Discrimination, faith based adoption agencies, gay parents, Michigan, same sex parents, United States, US

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