And it violates the Equal Protection Clause by discriminating against same-sex couples. Now they are shifting their strategy — by narrowing the scope of their discriminatory bills, these legislators are trying to sneak one past us.
Like many other states, Michigan outsources child welfare services to private agencies. Tell them discrimination is wrong no matter how it is dressed up, and our children and families deserve better. Just this past year, Alabama, South Dakota and Texas passed laws allowing precisely that.
When the agency representative learned they were two women, she told them Cheating woman agency does not work with same-sex Oruent. Unfortunately, Michigan is not the only state that allows child placement agencies to reject same-sex couples based on religious objections. Some are separated from siblings or placed in group homes.
What makes the South Dakota bill and others pending in AlabamaOklahomaand Texas here and here especially galling is the callous disregard for kids in the foster care system who desperately need loving families to care for them. Allowing state-contracted agencies to screen out prospective families based on religious criteria not only harms the children most in need, it is also unconstitutional.
They contacted a state-contracted agency to start Sotuh process. Kristy and Dana made another attempt with another agency and got the same answer. The public saw through the sometimes obfuscating language and rejected these bills for what they are: measures that would allow religion to be used to discriminate against LGBT people in all walks of life.
We are hopeful that we will get a ruling in this case that will send a message to state legislatures that the Constitution does not permit these kinds of laws. Indeed, the backlash was swift and painfulwith lawsuits, boycotts, economic damage, and tarnished reputations.
It will no longer permit agencies to turn away same-sex couples based on their religious objection to these families. These agencies enter into contracts with the state to care for children in the foster care system — including finding them appropriate foster and adoptive families — and are paid with taxpayer dollars ssx do this critical work.
In fact, ina conservative Florida legislator shut down attempts to pass a similar law. Having seen recruitment s featuring photos and bios of children in foster care waiting to be adopted, Kristy and Dana were moved and felt they could provide a loving Dakotq for in need.
Many agencies doing child placement work in Michigan are faith-based agencies, some of which have religious objections to placing children Souhh same-sex couples. Erin and Rebecca had a similar experience when they reached out to an agency about adopting out of foster care. The state of Michigan announced on March 22,that it will require all taxpayer funded, state-contracted child welfare agencies to accept all qualified families, including same-sex couples.
Michigan is the first state to reverse course on this issue. But freedom of religion does not give anyone the right to impose their beliefs on others, to harm others, or to discriminate. Because of the shortage of foster and adoptive families, some children are placed in foster families far from their families, schools and friends.
Some children wait years for an adoptive family and some age out of foster care without ever becoming part of a family. Michigan has 13, children in the foster care system. There are similar laws in North Dakota, Virginia, and Mississippi. Over the last several yearsstate legislatures have acted aggressively in their attempts to pass broadly written religious exemption laws, like Religious Freedom Restoration Orienr and First Amendment Defense Acts.