Legislation Would Allow Adoption Agencies To Reject Based on Faith

By: Lindsay Veremis Email
By: Lindsay Veremis Email

Could discrimination become part of the adoption process? A pair of bills being considered by the state legislature would allow adoption agencies to deny a family based on that agency's moral or religious beliefs.

Gays and lesbians feel the measure would make it much tougher to adopt.

"To think that an agency, if these bills were in place, could have discriminated against us even though the birth family selected us is frightening," Kent Love-Ramirez said.

Love-Ramirez adopted a son with his partner, Diego, nearly two years ago. "It's been wonderful being dads," Kent Love-Ramirez said, of caring for Lucas. "It's everything we could have ever possibly hoped for."

Many of Michigan's adoptions happen through private faith-based organizations, like Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services. They partner with the state and recieve some state funding to help Michigan children find homes. They believe the bills are about religious liberty and point out that under the legislation, a denial would not mean the proposed parent or parents are wrong for the child, but that they don't mesh with a given group's belief structure.

"The bills keep Michigan adoption laws the same as they are today, there's not change, they do not prohibit anyone from adopting," Bill Blacquiere, CEO of Bethany Christian Services said.

Blacquiere says the bills aren't about judgement or discrimination, but security, an assurance for religious-groups against future state mandates.

"We've seen it in Massachusett's, we've seen it in Illinious, we've seen it here in Michigan in Washtenaw County where a judge tried to order the church to preside over an unmarried couple's adoption, which is something the Catholic Church doesn't do," Tom Hixon, with Catholic Charities said.

Religious-groups supporting the measure believe faith-based agencies will be forced to stop helping with adoptions if protections aren't built into the law.

"I don't buy into the fact that this is about religious liberty, it's about giving someone a choice or an option to discriminate against another person, bases solely on their personal beliefs.

Gay couples already face hurdles to adopt in Michigan. The state does not permit gay marriage and unmarried couples are not allowed to adopt. For Love-Ramirez, that means while he and Diego share parenting duties and the financial responsiblities of raising Lucas equally, only one is his legal dad.

"The other in the eyes of the law is considered another adult in the household, essentially a stranger or roommate," Love-Ramirez explained.

The proposed bills are still early in the legislative process. A house committee will take them up again next week.

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  • by Mariah Location: Bath on Dec 8, 2012 at 09:24 AM
    According to the Bible marriage must be in the same faith and should be arranged. Not only should a wife be subordinate (Eph 5:22), but she must even prove her virginity on demand lest she be stoned (Deut. 22:20-21). If a woman's husband dies without having had a son, she must marry his brother and have intercourse with him until they have a son together (Mark 12:18-27). Many of the "men of God" were not only married but had concubines as well (Abraham, Caleb, Solomon). God frequently blessed polygamists (Esau, Jacob, Gideon, David, Solomon, Belshazzar). So forgive me for not being interested in earnest exhortations about "traditional family values" nor impressed by pious proclamations of religious morality.
  • by Jack Location: Location on Dec 7, 2012 at 06:18 AM
    Darryl the situation may be clearly immoral to YOU. This does not mean that it is clearly immoral or even immoral at all. Simply put, morals are a personal view as to what is right or wrong. One form of bigotry is intolerance for other peoples views. Tell me again how this isn't bigotry?
  • by Jack on Dec 7, 2012 at 06:18 AM
    Darryl the situation may be clearly immoral to YOU. This does not mean that it is clearly immoral or even immoral at all. Simply put, morals are a personal view as to what is right or wrong. One form of bigotry is intolerance for other peoples views. Tell me again how this isn't bigotry?
  • by Darryl Location: Curtis on Dec 6, 2012 at 05:17 PM
    The issue is not bigotry...the issue is morality...whether or not it is right to put a child in a clearly immoral situation... If two adults want to live in an immoral situation, that is their private business...but for organizations that are supposed to have the best interests of children at heart to be forced to subject children to live in an immoral situation is simply wrong...it's not a matter of bigotry, but of right and wrong...
  • by Lisa Location: Holt on Dec 3, 2012 at 02:16 PM
    I really would like to know who sponsored these bills and what these bill numbers are so I can look them up a bit easier.
  • by Mariah Location: Bath on Dec 1, 2012 at 03:53 AM
    Bigotry is an ugly thing. It's often cloaked in terms of piety, but it's simply hatred and intolerance. There is no excuse or justification for it. It's ugly no matter how one looks at it. I pity anyone who is too obstinate, too ignorant or too steeped in false doctrine and superstition to learn new and more wholesome ways of viewing and treating their fellow man.
  • by Courtney Location: Location on Nov 30, 2012 at 12:38 PM
    This is so wrong on many levels. Why should the agency be able to say "you have to abide by our beliefs." The child needs a good loving home and if two men, two women, one man, one woman, or a man and woman couple can provide a safe, happy and healthy environment, what is the problem. There exist far too many kids without families. Why make the kids suffer more because of "you have to abide by our beliefs." You are not a church and you are not protected by the same rules. Equal Adoption Opportunity!
  • by Anonymous on Nov 30, 2012 at 11:11 AM
    No Mariah... right is right and wrong is wrong. You are wrong.
  • by Mariah Location: Bath on Nov 29, 2012 at 02:53 PM
    So, Anonymous, should we then remove all children from single parent homes and place them in homes with two parents, one of each gender? What about widows and widowers who are left to raise their children alone after the death of their spouse? Should they be forced to immediately marry another spouse right away in order to fill that tall narrow order of "one mom and one dad" which you seem to deem absolutely necessary? We are not living in the dark ages, and most of us would prefer not to return to the dark ages either. Enlighten yourself.
  • by Lou Location: East Lansing on Nov 29, 2012 at 09:59 AM
    As an adopting parent who happens to be Christian but is not a church-goer, this legislation is incredibly sick and wrong. A child is a child is a child. What should matter is whether the prospective parent will be good or not, and that is determined by criminal back ground checks, the home studies, etc. The religious faith should not be a primary factor. I hope WILX follows up on this story.
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