Judge Rules Faith-based Adoption Agencies in Michigan Can Refuse to Place Children With Same-sex Couples Amid Ongoing Litigation

Reuters/Victor Ruiz Garcia

A federal judge in Michigan has ruled that faith-based adoption organizations that contract with the state can refuse to place children with same-sex couples until their lawsuit against the state is fully litigated. 

Judge Robert Jonker on Thursday issued a preliminary injunction against a court settlement reached earlier this year between the state and two lesbian couples represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU, a leading left-leaning legal advocacy group, sued the state in 2017 over a 2015 Republican-backed law that protected child-placement agencies from having to violate their religious convictions by being forced to place children with same-sex couples.

The ACLU’s 2017 lawsuit alleged that same-sex couples were turned away by Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services.

In 2019, Democrat Attorney General Dana Nessel became Michigan’s first openly gay statewide officeholder and refused to defend the 2015 Michigan law protecting faith-based providers in court.

In March, Nessel reached a settlement with the ACLU that required the state to enforce LGBT nondiscrimination provisions within its contracts with adoption placement agencies.

About a month later, a lawsuit against the settlement was filed on behalf of St. Vincent Catholic Charities and parents Chad and Melissa Buck, alleging that the terms of the settlement violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

St. Vincent has historically been allowed to refer prospective parents to other agencies if religious beliefs prevented the charity from assisting with the certification and licensing process.

Its lawsuit argued that such a policy requires the state to discriminate against agencies with “religious objections to same-sex marriage.”

St. Vincent accused the state of conditioning its license on the organization’s willingness to make statements that contradict its religious beliefs.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith