Photo Credits:Blue Diamond Gallery
St. Vincent, a Catholic adoption agency based in Lansing, Michigan, won on court after federal judge ruled that it can refuse to certify LGBT couples as qualified to adopt children. U.S. District Judge, Robert Jonker, issued a preliminary injunction in favor of St. Vincent concluding that the agency is being targeted by the State of Michigan for its religious beliefs. “This case is not about whether same-sex couples can be great parents,” Jonker writes, as Washington Blade reports. “They can. No one in the case contests that. To the contrary, St. Vincent has placed children for adoption with same-sex couples certified by the State. What this case is about is whether St. Vincent may continue to do this work and still profess and promote the traditional Catholic belief that marriage as ordained by God is for one man and one woman.”
St. Vincent started this case in April after a settlement was reached in a separate case. American Civil Liberties Union challenged Michigan’s religious freedom adoption law, which allowed faith-based to turn away LGBT families seeking to adopt, and this case ended with a settlement. This settlement prohibited Michigan adoption agencies from discriminating against LGBT couples and shortly afterward the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services opened an investigation into St. Vincent under allegations that it wasn't complying with the settlement’s non-discrimination terms. St. Vincent reacted by filing the lawsuit seeking injunction to continue to certify families for child placement consistent with its religious beliefs. The federal judge's ruling confirmed St. Vincent's claim and cleared the ground for adoption agencies to turn away same-sex foster parents.
Same-sex couples are not bad parents and they can provide love, care and support for children. Adopting a child is a big step and it can have positive effects both on parents and on children by giving them an opportunity to create a loving and functional family. Those children are also affected by this decision and if some agency refuses to certify LGBT couple that means that some child has lost the chance to get loving parents and become part of the family.
Jay Kaplan, LGBT Project staff attorney of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, criticized the decision as “the individual religious beliefs of foster care agencies ahead of the welfare of children.” “This will not facilitate foster and adoptive placements for children in need,” Kaplan said, according to Washington Blade. “Instead, it will allow agencies to turn away same-sex foster parents who are able to provide supportive and loving homes for these children.”