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Michigan Orders Faith-Based Adoption Agencies to Violate Their Religious Beliefs

03-22-2019

Michigan is ordering faith-based adoption agencies to violate their own religious beliefs and place children with LGBTQ couples. 

Agencies that decide not to reject their own faith will no longer be allowed to receive funding from the state to make foster care adoptions possible.

The decision by the state is part of a legal settlement that was announced Friday between Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel's office and lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU had sued the state for two lesbian couples. 

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."

But faith-based groups say this decision will prevent the state from reaching its goal of finding homes for children, because it will eliminate key groups like Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services that help children find those homes.  

In recent years, Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services have handled roughly 25 to 30 percent of the state's foster care adoptions. 

Lori Windham, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said, "The Michigan AG 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 settlement violates the state law protecting religious adoption agencies. This harms children and families waiting for forever homes and limits access for couples who chose to partner with those agencies," she said.

Michigan actually has a law that blocks the state from doing what it just did. The 2015 law says child-placement agencies cannot be forced to provide services that conflict with their sincerely held religious beliefs. 

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