The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan, challenging its “religious exemption” laws that they say allows discrimination against LGBTQ families and even atheists during the adoption process.
Plaintiff Kristy Dumont was turned away, along with her wife, by two state-contracted and taxpayer-funded child placement agencies just for being gay. She said she wants to make sure that doesn’t happen to others.
“We are ready to open our home and our hearts to a child, but were rejected because we’re a same-sex couple… So many children in Michigan need homes. The state should do all that it can to make sure children in the foster care system have access to all available, qualified families.”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of families like Dumont’s as well as taxpayers whose money funds the discriminatory government programs.
The ACLU says the Constitution doesn’t allow these state-contracted, taxpayer-funded agencies to discriminate against potential foster or adoptive families on the basis of religion or sexual orientation.
As if LGBTQ discrimination isn’t bad enough, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit brings up an interesting point: the law would allow people to discriminate against atheists for “religious reasons” as well. Jennifer Ludolph, a 33-year-old pharmacy technician, was put into the Michigan foster care system at age 13 and was ultimately placed with an atheist father.
“Jennifer is strongly opposed to the State allowing taxpayer-funded child placing agencies hired by the state to care for children in foster care to turn away prospective foster and adoption families based on religious criteria. She believes that such practices could have prevented her from finding her family because her foster father is an atheist. She cares about the children currently in the foster care system who might not be placed with a loving family because suitable prospective parents are turned away for religious reasons.”
Michigan isn’t the only state with a pro-discrimination measure like this. In May, we covered a new law in Alabama that allows adoption agencies to discriminate against qualified candidates (such as same-sex couples) for religious reasons.
If religious institutions want to prevent children from finding a home because they think non-Christian, non-straight parents are unworthy, they should at the very least promote their bigotry using their own money. The rest of us are actually interested in the kids finding loving homes, not imposing a narrow purity test on every willing adult who walks through the door.
Plus, if these agencies are allowed to discriminate against atheists and same-sex couples, the rules could feasibly stretch to discriminate against Christian couples, too. We shouldn’t let that happen either. We ought to embrace any good parents willing to take on these roles.
Too bad they don’t feel the same way.
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