Gay Couples Wanting To Adopt In Michigan Can Now Be Denied, Which Really Means Kids Are Being Denied A Home
On Thursday, the governor of Michigan signed a law that will make it OK to deny adoptions to gay couples for religious reasons, Reuters reported. While the law does not specifically mention gay couples, it allows private "faith-based" adoption agencies to prevent children from being placed with prospective adoptive parents on religious grounds. Opponents of the law are stunned, saying it will make it much more difficult to find homes for the 13,000 children in the foster and adoptive care system in Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press. Almost half of adoptions in the state are handled by religious organizations, the Free Press pointed out.
Gov. Rick Snyder said that under the old law, since these faith-based adoption agencies receive state funding, they had to adhere to state laws concerning adoption, even if the laws were not in keeping with their "sincerely held" religious beliefs. Snyder said the concern was that if the agencies chose to refuse the state funding, they would have to close, shutting down a crucial piece of the state's adoption services. Cue him signing the new law, which will make agencies still eligible for state funding even if they deny services based on religious reasoning.
The ACLU said it will challenge the law in court, but in the meantime, these thousands of children wait, despite the likelihood there is a loving home waiting for them. Michigan has the fifth largest population of children awaiting adoption, the ACLU said. And across the country, some 2 million LGBT people want to adopt in the U.S., according to the Human Rights Coalition.
A 2011 report in The New York Times examined Census data that showed that the number of same-sex couples with adopted children had risen sharply from the decade before. And that's well before same-sex marriage was legal in as many states as it is now. According to the Times, researchers found same-sex parents who adopted were educated and financially secure.
And even though the statistics from the 2011 article might be a little dated, the situation remains the same: Thousands of children are waiting to be adopted and same-sex couples can be part of the solution. "Agencies have a legal obligation to ensure the best interests of the child are considered during placement," Rana Elmir of the ACLU told The Huffington Post. "There is nothing about this shameful legislation that helps vulnerable kids find homes."
The Free Press points out that this new law might not be valid for very long, since the Supreme Court is expected to hand down a ruling on same-sex marriage any time now that may well render invalid any laws that allow discrimination based on sexual orientation. If not, thousands of children in Michigan could be forced to wait for the courts to decide whether they will remain in the system, or be placed in a home with a loving family.
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