LANSING, Mich. — After the governor of Michigan signed a bill into law this week allowing private adoption agencies to decline certain adoptions on religious grounds, the ACLU has vowed to file suit to force agencies to place children with homosexuals.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed HB 4188, HB 4189, and HB 4190 on Thursday, bills that reportedly codify existing state law allowing private adoption agencies with state contracts to decline certain prospects due to their sincerely-held religious beliefs. However, those that decline must provide referrals to other agencies that may provide assistance.
The bills had passed both the House and Senate on Wednesday, and moved to Snyder’s desk for signing.
In addition to protecting the consciences of faith-based adoption agencies, the bills prohibit the government from punishing or taking any “adverse action” against the agencies for acting in accordance with their convictions. The legislation does not mention homosexuals nor any specific class, people group, or other parameter.
“This is about making sure we get the largest number of kids in forever families,” Snyder told the Associated Press. “The more opportunities and organizations we have that are doing a good job of placing people in loving families, isn’t that better for all of us?”
But following the signing, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan vowed to file a lawsuit to challenge the legislation before it officially goes into effect. According to MLive.com, because the state’s largest adoption agencies are Christian, the ACLU believes that discrimination could occur in turning away Muslims and homosexuals.
“As a country, we outlawed separate but equal 50 years ago, and what this law does is, it enacts separate criteria for people,” staff attorney Brooke Tucker told reporters. “If you are a Christian, you have a whole range of options available to you from these faith-based agencies. If you’re Muslim, if you’re Jewish, if you’re a same sex couple, you don’t.”
Deputy Director Rana Elmir also released a statement advising that the organization would be taking legal action.
“We’re deeply disappointed that Governor Snyder signed this dangerous legislation. We are developing a legal challenge with our Muslim, Jewish, Christian and LGBTQ partners,” she wrote. “We encourage any family looking to adopt or foster children who believe they will be adversely affected by this law to contact us immediately.”
“Agencies have a legal obligation to ensure the best interests of the child are considered during placement. There is nothing about this shameful legislation that helps vulnerable kids find homes,” Elmjir added.
However, some Christian organizations in the state see the matter as being one of religious freedom—that they should not be forced to accommodate arrangements that are deemed sinful.
“Christians should have religious freedom,” Stacy Swimp of the National Coalition of Black Pastors and Christian Leaders told the Detroit Free Press. “Religious freedom is essentially the basis for why America was founded.”
Michigan’s constitutional marriage amendment enshrining marriage as being solely between a man and a woman is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court after the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law as being a legitimate regulation.