Michigan's New Adoption Law Aimed at Helping Faith-Based Agencies, Draws Fire from the ACLU

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently signed House Bill 4188. The bill relates to faith-based adoption agencies, and similar bills have been passed in Virginia and North Dakota. The Michigan law would permit such agencies to place children up for adoption into homes based on sincerely held religious beliefs. The effect of the law, says LBN’s Bob Donley, is that it would “help faith-based adoption agencies remain open.”

Michigan legislators say that the intent of the law is to assure that more children are adopted or at least placed into foster homes. In Michigan, the new law will directly affect the Michigan Catholic Conference and Bethany Christian Services. Between them, the two groups receive about $10 million annually from the State of Michigan, and they find homes for about 30% of Michigan’s abandoned children.

The religious adoption agencies say that it violates their beliefs to place children in homes with single parents or with same sex couples. The ACLU has said it will mount a legal challenge to the new law. The ACLU says that the new law is an attempt to skirt the laws concerning same sex marriage.

The Michigan law requires the faith-based agencies to refer those rejected as adoptive parents to other adoption agencies. The legal struggle might end up as a constitutional challenge, perhaps a lengthy one.

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