The United States has a growing need for families to foster and adopt children. In Michigan alone, there are an astounding 13,000 children in the foster care system. Many of these children will never get the opportunity to live with a family. Sadly, there just aren’t enough people willing or able to foster or adopt.
Michigan’s Child Welfare Services Are Handles by Private Agencies
Many states, including Michigan, use private agencies to handle child welfare services. These agencies are responsible for the care and placement of children in the foster care system. They are paid with taxpayer dollars.
With such a great need for foster homes and adoptive families, it’s extremely important that the state does all that it can to ensure that children have the best chance at finding a home. However, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is allowing private agencies to turn away same-sex couples based on the agency’s religious objections. This is true for all agencies in Michigan handling child welfare services, many of which are religious based.
Denying Foster Care or Adoption Based on Sexual Orientation is Unconstitutional
Allowing these agencies to base their decision on religious beliefs is unconstitutional. It violates both the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause as well as the Equal Protection Clause. It’s also extremely damaging to the large number of children in the foster care system.
Currently, Michigan laws allow private agencies to base their decisions on a variety of religious criteria including sexual orientation, faith and marital status. This is unconstitutional and unacceptable.
Children should be placed in foster and adoptive homes based on a person’s ability to care for them. Sexual orientation and religious affiliation has absolutely nothing to do with that ability. This is why the ACLU is suing in federal district court.
Nessel and Kessel Law understands that sexual orientation does not determine a person’s ability to properly care for a child. We provide legal support for same sex couples and gay and lesbian singles that have been turned away by faith-based adoption agencies. Please contact us to learn how we can help.