New York Gives Christian Adoption Agency an Ultimatum: Change Policy Banning Same-sex Couples or End Adoption Program

The state of New York has given a Syracuse-based Christian adoption agency an ultimatum to either change their adoption policy forbidding placement with same-sex couples or no longer be able to provide adoption services, a new lawsuit details.

New Hope Family Services has filed a federal lawsuit against the acting commissioner of the state’s Office of Children and Family Services on the ground that the nonprofit could be forced to phase out its adoption program if it doesn’t change its policy prioritizing placement in homes with both a mother and a father.

The organization, which was founded in 1965 and also provides foster services and pregnancy resources, has placed over 1,000 children in adoptive homes throughout the state since its founding.

According to the legal nonprofit representing the organization, Alliance Defending Freedom, New Hope was founded “to be Christ’s hands extended to offer hope and help to people with pregnancy, parenting, adoption or post-abortion needs in the Syracuse area and throughout the State of New York.”

According to the lawsuit, New Hope does not accept state funding and funds its ministry through churches, donors and private grants.

The lawsuit details that the troubles for New Hope in late October after OFCS reviewed the organization’s policy and procedures manual and took issue with the organization’s placement policy. The review of the policy came after an agent of the agency did a site visit to New Hope and even took note of the “number of strengths” of New Hope’s adoption program.

But after reviewing the New Hope’s policies, OFCS labeled New Hope’s policy on gay adoption “discriminatory and impermissible.”

In a letter to New Hope, OFCS said the “agency’s policy pertaining to not placing ‘children with those who are living together without the benefit of marriage’ or ‘same sex couples’” violates Title 18 of the New York Code, Rules and Regulations.”

“The letter provided an ultimatum that New Hope either ‘revise the present policy and continue the existing adoption program’ or ‘fail to bring the policy into compliance with the regulation,’ in which case ‘OCFS will be unable to approve continuation of [New Hope’s] current adoption program and [New Hope] will be required to submit a close-out plan for the adoption program,’” the lawsuit explains.

The lawsuit argues that the state’s ultimatum for New Hope would force the agency “to choose either to violate its faith or cease exercising its religion by closing its adoption ministry.”

“New York State has never changed its adoption laws to make it mandatory for adoption providers to place children with couples other than ‘an adult husband and his adult wife,’” the lawsuit asserts. “Instead, unelected bureaucrats in the New York Office of Children and Family Services have purported to do so through their adoption, interpretation, and enforcement of a new regulation.”

Erik Stanley, director of the ADF Center for Christian Ministries, said in a statement that adoption services exist only to help children not “to affirm the desires of adults.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith