Michigan adoption agency wins in court battle over religious beliefs

Michigan adoption agency wins in court battle over religious beliefs

Faith-based adoption and foster care agencies seeking to practice their religious beliefs gained an important victory Sept. 26 in Michigan.

Federal Judge Robert Jonker issued a preliminary injunction blocking Michigan from canceling the state-approved contract of St. Vincent Catholic Charities to provide foster care and adoption services. St. Vincent will be able to continue partnering with the state while the court case continues.

The Catholic agency has refused to certify and place children in the homes of same-sex couples as a result of its belief that marriage is only between a man and a woman. In his decision Jonker said the state’s action “strongly suggests [Michigan’s] real goal is not to promote non-discriminatory child placements but to stamp out St. Vincent’s religious belief and replace it with the state’s own.”

Michigan has about 13,000 children in foster care. On average an estimated 442,000 children are in foster care in the United States on any given day, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Nine states have enacted measures that protect the right of agencies to abide by their religious or moral convictions in adoption and foster care: Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia. (BP, TAB)