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Challenge filed over state settlement requiring adoption agencies serve same-sex couples

Best Law

A lawsuit filed earlier this week on behalf of a Catholic adoption agency alleges a new requirement that adoption and foster care agencies work with same-sex couples is discriminatory.

In a settlement agreement last month the Attorney General Dana Nessel said the state would not contract with agencies that don’t allow same-sex couples to adopt.

Nick Reaves is an attorney representing St. Vincent Catholic Charities, which is bringing the suit. He said the organization has worked with the state for the last 75 years without problem.

“The abrupt change in position of the state definitely seems like a targeted attempt to shut down a successful agency because of their religious beliefs.”

And, Reaves said, same sex couples could simply visit one of the state’s 57 other agencies that manage adoption or foster care for the state.

“So, St. Vincent isn’t preventing anyone from becoming a foster or adoptive parent through their ministry.”

Reaves said St. Vincent has also filed for an injunction to allow them to continue providing services while the case goes forward.

The charity has 85 children currently in its care.

Kelly Rossman-McKinney is with the Attorney General’s office. She said any agency that works with the state has to sign a contract.

“And the contract is very specific: you will not discriminate.”

Rossman-McKinney said the it doesn’t make sense to keep eligible applicants from adopting children.

“Everyone wants to ensure that every child who is a ward of the state of Michigan has access to as many parenting and forever-home options as possible.”

The state is expected to officially file a response to the suit within a month.