Suffer the Little Children | Sojourners

Suffer the Little Children

Lawsuits again pit religious freedom against LGBTQ rights.

A succession of lawsuits involving the state of Michigan, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Christian adoption agencies has again pitted religious freedom against LGBTQ rights.

In 2017, after a same-sex couple seeking to adopt was turned away by Bethany Christian Services and St. Vincent Catholic Charities, the ACLU took the couple’s case to court. In March, the case was settled in favor of the LGBTQ clients. Adoption agencies that receive funds from the state of Michigan can no longer turn away LGBTQ couples or individuals because of religious objections. In response, Bethany—the largest Christian adoption and foster agency in the U.S. and headquartered in Michigan—reluctantly changed its policy in the state to allow LGBTQ couples to foster children. In contrast, St. Vincent filed a follow-up lawsuit against the state human services department.

“We are disappointed with how this settlement agreement has been implemented by the state government. Nonetheless, Bethany will continue operations in Michigan, in compliance with our legal contract requirements,” a Bethany spokesperson said in a statement.

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