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Bethany Christian Services Agrees to Place Kids in LGBT Homes After Michigan Settlement

04-26-2019
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There's been a major development involving an international faith-based foster care and adoption agency.  Michigan-based Bethany Christian Services announced this week it will place children in LGBT homes.

Bethany changed course after a recent legal settlement.

The international agency is responsible for around eight percent of Michigan's more than 13,000 foster care and adoption cases centered around kids from troubled homes.

The nonprofit organization issued a statement, saying, "We are disappointed with how this settlement agreement has been implemented by the state government. Nonetheless, Bethany will continue operations in Michigan, in compliance with our legal contract requirements."

Michigan's Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the settlement last month after homosexual couples sued in 2017.

The settlement bans faith-based agencies like Bethany from refusing to place kids in LGBT homes for religious reasons if the agencies have accepted the children for referral from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The Associated Press reports that of the faith-based agencies in Michigan, who are known not to serve LGBT couples or individuals, Bethany does more work for the state than any other. Bethany handled more than 1,150 cases as of February.

AP reports Catholic Charities had a caseload of more than 400, and St. Vincent Catholic Charities had 80 cases. Michigan State Human Services Department Spokesperson Bob Wheaton said the department was glad it will "be able to continue its long-standing partnership with Bethany in providing services to children and families."

Attorney General Nessel tweeted last weekend, "Having more adoption agencies which don't discriminate equals more children adopted into loving, nurturing "forever" homes. Thank you to Bethany Christian Services!" 

The AP reports that Nessel is a lesbian and as a private attorney battled to overturn Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage.

Christianity Today reports that Bethany, which has been in existence for 75 years, made it clear its mission and Christian beliefs have not changed. The change will not have an impact on infant adoptions, international adoptions or foster placements in the 34 other states where Bethany serves. 

At least two agencies are still fighting the Michigan settlement in court. Catholic Charities West Michigan filed a lawsuit against Michigan's new rule.

Also, St. Vincent Catholic Charities filed a lawsuit in federal court, claiming the settlement violates the US Constitution and federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

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