In yet another victory for LGBTQ rights, a faith-based adoption agency in Michigan has decided to reverse its anti-gay policies in light of the state’s newly announced rules on the issue.
Bethany Christian Services, which makes up about 8% of the foster care and adoption services in the state, decided to start working with same-sex couples after Michigan said it would refuse funding to agencies that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
That decision came due to a lawsuit from the ACLU that began under the previous Republican administration. When Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel took over her office, she reached a settlement with the ACLU and agreed that the state would end contracts with groups that actively discriminated against same-sex couples.
Now Bethany Christian has decided to prioritize the best interests of children over faith-based bigotry.
Nessel’s office didn’t comment on the group’s policy change but the AG expressed her gratitude on Twitter:
Having more adoption agencies which don’t discriminate =‘s more children adopted into loving, nurturing “forever” homes. Thank you to Bethany Christian Services! https://t.co/H55Gs1ZktW
— Dana Nessel (@dananessel) April 20, 2019
Nessel, who has also explained that you can be both Catholic and in support of equal rights, is absolutely right. the more foster care agencies, the more kids that get placed in loving homes. It didn’t benefit anybody — certainly not the children — to have Bethany Christian cut off from the state entirely, but that would have happened if the group insisted on remaining anti-gay.
It’s unfortunate that it took the settlement for the agency to change its ways. In fact, just last week, a different agency sued the state saying the new policies violate their Constitutional religious freedoms. Why their religion requires them to discriminate against a vulnerable community is completely beyond me — especially when another Christian group seemed to have no problem setting aside the hate in order to help children.
Not that Bethany Christian is thrilled with their decision.
While Bethany was “disappointed” with the settlement agreement, it plans to work under the new conditions, the Grand Rapids-based group said in a statement.
“The mission and beliefs of Bethany Christian Services have not changed,” the group said. “We are focused on demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by serving children in need, and we intend to continue doing so in Michigan.”
“The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is pleased that the department will be able to continue its long-standing partnership with Bethany in providing services to children and families,” department spokesman Bob Wheaton said.
Again, this benefits all sides. If the agency really wants to demonstrate the love of Jesus, they can do that by placing kids in good homes with both same- and opposite-sex couples. Imagine how much hate must be in your heart when you’re willing to walk away from those children in need because of how badly you want to discriminate against gay people.
Hopefully other religious agencies around the country follow this example.
(Image via Shutterstock)