Michigan adoption agencies secure protections for LGBTQ+ couples

Attorney General Dana Nessel. Photo by NPR.

Michigan is no longer giving funding to adoption agencies that turn away LGBTQ+ parents.

According to a recent statement, Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services is now required to have nondiscrimination provisions in its adoption contracts and end contracts with discriminatory agencies.  

This comes from a 2017 ACLU lawsuit on behalf of two lesbian couples who claimed to be turned away by Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Charities because of their orientation.

"This is a victory for our clients, other same-sex couples in Michigan, and most importantly, the children in Michigan's child welfare system, who will now have access to more loving and qualified families," the ACLU said in a statement following the announcement. The organization estimates there are 13,000 children in the state welfare system.

Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services are responsible for about 12 percent of the state's foster care adoptions, the Associated Press reported.

A law passed in 2015 allowing Michigan adoption agencies to turn away members on the basis of religious conflict.

However, the law’s provisions didn’t extend to agencies that contracted through the Department of Health and Human Services.

"Discrimination in the provision of foster care case management and adoption services is illegal, no matter the rationale," Attorney General Dana Nessel told the Associated Press in a statement.

"Limiting the opportunity for a child to be adopted or fostered by a loving home not only goes against the state's goal of finding a home for every child, it is a direct violation of the contract every child-placing agency enters into with the state."

The Gayly 3/23/2019 11:30 a.m. CST