Faith-based adoption agencies in Michigan suffer a major set-back

Faith-based adoption agencies in Michigan suffer a major set-back March 23, 2019

THERE is much discontent among Catholics in Michigan as a result of a successful bid by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to prevent faith-based adoption agencies that benefit from taxpayer funding from turning away same-sex couples or gay individuals.

Image via YouTube

According to this report, a  lawsuit filed by the ACLU was settled yesterday (Friday) by Attorney General Dana Nessel, above, who accepted that such agencies will no longer be allowed to discriminate. She conceded that a 2015 law that permitted state-contracted child welfare agencies to refuse to provide foster care or adoption services that conflicted with their religious beliefs was in violation of federal anti-discrimination laws.

The ACLU sued the state in 2017 on behalf of two lesbian couples who claimed they had been rejected as adoptive parents by St Vincent Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services because they are gay.

The ACLU said in a statement following the announcement:

This is a victory for our clients, other same-sex couples in Michigan, and most importantly, the children in Michigan’s child welfare system, who will now have access to more loving and qualified families. The organization estimates there are 13,000 children in the state welfare system.

Since 2015 Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services have been responsible for about 12 percent of the state’s foster care adoptions.

Image via YouTube

The decision to settle the case has angered Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented St Vincent Catholic Charities. She insists the settlement violates the state law protecting religious adoption agencies.

The Michigan Attorney General and the ACLU are trying to stop the state from working with faith-based adoption agencies. The result of that will be tragic. Thousands of children will be kept from finding the loving homes they deserve.

This harms children and families waiting for forever homes and limits access for couples who chose to partner with those agencies.

The Michigan Catholic Conference, an advocacy group representing the Catholic Church in Michigan, reacted to the settlement in a tweet, saying:

It is highly unlikely this is the last chapter of the story.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Great news for children in the face of what was taxpayer funded bigotry!

  • Broga

    “senior counsel at Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented St Vincent Catholic Charities.”

    Religion and liberty are two words that just do not sit together. Unless as opposites.

  • Michael Neville

    The religious bigots go out of their way to ignore what Jesus said about loving their fellow man. But then hypocrisy was always a Christian virtue.

  • igor

    To me, the issue at play here is the boundary between Religious Activities and non-Religious Avtivities.

    In the case of Religious Activities, this includes activities such as worship and rituals that are part of a particular religion. Such activities are for the membership and nobody else. Discrimination is ok within the membership. Government funding for these activities should not occur.

    In the case of non-Religious Activities, these are any activity that invloves anybody (not only the membership). Discrimination on tha basis of religious belief is not allowed. Government funding may apply, depending upon the service.

    In the case of an adoption agency, if the agency serves only the membership, it may qualify as a Religious Activity, but it would receive no Government funding. It the agency serves anybody, it is a non-Religious Activity and so government funding may apply. But no discrimination.

    So, a simple choice:

    Religious Activity = serves membership only, no government funding, discriminiation ok within membership.
    non-Religious Activity = serves anybody, maybe government funding, no discrimination.

  • Jennny

    We are all of us deeply committed to our children and love them to pieces. But if you are prospective adopters or foster carers, I suggest, you have a very profound commitment indeed, you have to jump through many hoops, fill out reams of paperwork etc as well as have money upfront. And same-sex couples doing that also run the gauntlet of on line abuse.(Famous olympic gold medallist diver in the UK Tom Daley recently had a baby with his husband…and his celebrity status made for some very nasty trolling.) Religion has nothing to do with good parenting, commitment does.

  • Douglas Wilhelm

    Actually, many do think this is the end of it… The former attorney general didn’t want to touch it, why, probably because it was unconstitutional. The legislature didn’t interfere at any point over the past 6 months or so, probably because it was unconstitutional. Other states and jurisdictions are getting away with stopping public funds form these places, probably because it is unconstitutional. Fingers crossed….