Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Michigan Anti-Christian Adoption Policy Shot Down

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Yonker has halted implementation of a new policy in Michigan that forces faith-based adoption agencies to choose between violating their beliefs on same-sex marriage or closing their doors.  In his written opinion, Yonker says that the original policy in place for years already “ensures non-discrimination in child placements,” but the new policy “would replace this with a State-orthodoxy test that prevents Catholic believers from participating.”
As readers learned last April, this new policy was the work of Michigan’s renegade attorney general Dana Nessel, who used her authority to settle a pretextual discrimination lawsuit, Dumont v. Gordon, filed by the ACLU on behalf of two lesbian couples targeting Christian agencies. Nessel and the ACLU came up with a settlement agreement requiring all State contracts with private adoption agencies to include a “non-discrimination provision” that prohibits an adoption agency from even referring LGBTQ couples to another agency.  Yonker writes that, under the AG’s new rules, a faith-based adoption agency “must choose between its traditional religious belief, and the privilege of continuing to place children with foster and adoptive parents of all types.”
In response, Becket Law brought a lawsuit, Buck vs. Gordon, on behalf of an adopting couple, a former foster child, and St. Vincent Catholic Charities, challenging the new policy and alleging numerous constitutional violations.  The lawsuit names state and federal agency heads as defendants, including Attorney General Nessel. The preliminary injunction Yonker granted the plaintiffs last week halts the new policy from going into effect, maintaining the status quo until the case is fully litigated.  This means St. Vincent’s current contract with the state, due to expire on September 30, will remain in place. 

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