Lesbians Who Want to Foster Refugee Child Sue Catholic Group After Allegedly Being Turned Down

AUSTIN, Texas — Two lesbian women have sued the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Refugee Resettlement after a local Catholic charity allegedly disallowed them from serving as foster parents to a refugee child because the organization only works with homes that “mirror the holy family.”

Fatma Marouf and Bryn Esplin “wed” each other in 2015 and moved to Texas a year later. One of the women is from a Muslim background and the other had a Mormon upbringing.

Marouf, who works as a law professor at Texas A&M University and also serves as the director of its Immigrant Rights Clinic, became familiar with Catholic Charities Fort Worth (CCFW) through her efforts. She soon received an invitation to tour the facility so she could learn more about the organization’s work to help unaccompanied refugee children.

Following the tour, Marouf and Esplin became interested in fostering a child themselves. They emailed CCFW to inquire about the steps they would need to take to move forward, and a representative allegedly set up an interview between the two and Donna Springer, the chair of the organization’s board of directors.

“During the call, it became clear to CCFW that Fatma and Bryn are same-sex spouses. Springer then told Fatma and Bryn that foster parents must ‘mirror the holy family,'” their legal complaint reads. “To clarify whether their relationship would be an issue, Fatma explicitly stated that she and Bryn are a same-sex couple. Springer responded that they did not ‘qualify’ to foster a child.”

The women state that they then asked about homosexual refugee children, and Springer replied that none of the children in their care identify as such.

Therefore, in February 2017, Marouf emailed the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to complain that the Catholic group had discriminated against her and her partner. The department replied months later and asked for the name of the person who allegedly told the women that the organization would only place children in homes that “mirror the holy family.”

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Because no further action has been taken, Marouf and Esplin have now filed suit.

“By working to ensure that none of the children for which they are responsible are placed in homes of same-sex spouses based on USCCB’s (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’) religious beliefs, USCCB and its sub-grantees not only discriminate against same-sex spouses, but also effectively erase the non-Catholic identities and beliefs of many of the unaccompanied refugee children for which they are responsible,” the lawsuit, filed by Lambda legal, states.

“Federal Defendants’ failure to remedy the discrimination by USCCB and its sub-grantee in denying Fatma and Bryn the opportunity to foster a child under the URM Program or the UC Program based on impermissible religious considerations, of which they are on notice, compounds their constitutional violation,” it reads.

According to the Dallas Morning News, CCFW denies that the women ever spoke to Springer, as well as the claim that they were told that none of the refugee children identify as homosexual.

“We do not screen or otherwise ask the children we serve to self-identify if they are LGBT,” Katelin Cortney, the communications director for CCFW, told the outlet. “We train our foster families to accept children from all cultures and walks of life so they can be as prepared as possible to welcome someone new into their home.”

The Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops also remarked in a statement that Catholic foster programs work “within [the] parameters of the Catholic Church’s teachings” and in compliance with federal regulations as they relate to receiving government funding.

Marouf and Esplin are seeking an injunction to force the Catholic organization to work with them to foster a refugee child. They also want the court to issue an injunction to stop the federal government “from enabling, sanctioning, ratifying, or failing to implement adequate safeguards against the use of religious or other criteria to exclude foster or adoptive parent applicants based on their sexual orientation or sex or the same-sex character of their marriage…”

Read the lawsuit in full here.

The late pastor and author A.W. Tozer once exhorted, “There is no Christian victory or blessing if we refuse to turn away from the things that God hates. … Even if it is accepted in the whole social class of which you are a part, turn away from it. Even if there is something that has come to be accepted by our generation, turn away from it if it is wrong and an offense to our holy and righteous Savior.”

“Following Christ is serious business,” he declared. “Let us quit being casual about Heaven and Hell and the judgment to come!”


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  • Blue

    When an organization contracts with the government to perform a government function, and accepts taxpayer funds to perform that function, it will be bound by the same constitutional limits as the government.

    If the organization does not agree to those restrictions, it should not accept taxpayer funds.

    Regardless of the religious beliefs of the organization, gay people in America can and do get married and can and do raise children. If the organization is not able to act without discriminating against an entire class of citizens, it should not accept taxpayer funds to perform that task.

    • Charles

      Same sex couple can not be married. Not possible. You can’t fit a round peg in a square hole. If they wanted to be partners and get the benefits similar to married folks from Government, go for it. But it’s not a marriage no matter what the Government says. Governments don’t define marriage. Only God does that. If you wish to use the tax payer funded argument. We can do that to with the murder of hundred of thousands of babies every year funded by tax payers.

      • Amos Moses – He>i

        seems to me two lesbians LACK a peg ………….

        • LynnRH

          Bwahahaha! Amos

  • The Lone Haranguer

    No kid should be subjected to that. Every child needs a mother and father. This “two mommies” business is absurd.

    • Sally Edwards

      So you feel a lesbian should be denied the right to be a parent simply because she’s a lesbian?

      • Charles

        I would say she forfeits that right herself by being a lesbian.

    • Michael C

      A large survey conducted by Christian sociologist, Mark Regnerus, and funded by a conservative Christian policy group, Witherspoon Institute, found no significant differences between the children raised by same-sex couples when compared to opposite-sex couples. Regnerus testified to this fact in a Michigan federal court.

      • Charles

        Well.. That just changes everything! (Sarcasm). I can’t seem to find the information you state here. It seems Mr. Regenerus has disputed that claim in his research. Regardless, a child in an optimum setting needs a Father, and a Mother (They compliment each other, as they provide complimentary needs to a child’s life). It was set up that way from the beginning by Jesus, and nothing has or will change that fact. No matter how much you try to convince God’s people. This is simply more agenda pedaling by the LGBTQRSTZXY or whatever it’s called now movement.

        • Michael C

          I can’t seem to find the information you state here. It seems Mr. Regenerus has disputed that claim in his research.

          Regnerus’ reported conclusions based on his own findings are a bit deceptive. When looking at his numbers and comparing apples to apples (children raised from infancy to adulthood by either same-sex or opposite-sex couples), Regnerus found no significant differences.

          I’m glad that you believe that you know what is optimal for children. You can use that knowledge in raising your own.

          Using our secular government to enforce your personal religious beliefs, however, is not how this works.

          • Charles

            Tell me. Over the past several thousand years, what indication is there that a Father and Mother aren’t the optimum foundation of a family? Your secular beliefs are indeed a belief. What makes you think I wish to suffer yours? No wait, it’s even worse than that though, you are trying to FORCE acceptance of people who don’t wish to accept it as “Normal” because of their beliefs? Isn’t that correct? So am I supposed to accept brainwashing of kids, that homosexuality is “OK” and “Acceptable”, and two people can be “Married” even though my beliefs don’t agree with you but “You’ll like it, or else!”.. Otherwise I’m “Intolerant”, or a “Bigot”, or a “Homophobe”. I think that would quality you as a hypocrite wouldn’t it?

          • Michael C

            Your secular beliefs are indeed a belief. What makes you think I wish to suffer yours? No wait, it’s even worse than that though, you are trying to FORCE acceptance of people who don’t wish to accept it as “Normal” because of their beliefs?

            As I said, if you feel that having two parents of the same sex is not optimal, don’t raise your kids with two parents of the same sex. You’re under no obligation to accept others’ standards for raising their children.

            So am I supposed to accept brainwashing of kids, that homosexuality is “OK” and “Acceptable”, and two people can be “Married” even though my beliefs don’t agree with you but “You’ll like it, or else!”

            You’re free to brainwash your own kids to believe whatever you want them to believe.

            You don’t have to like what other people believe. Nobody said you did.

            Otherwise I’m “Intolerant”, or a “Bigot”, or a “Homophobe”. I think that would quality you as a hypocrite wouldn’t it?

            Did I call you any of those things?

            How am I a hypocrite?

          • Charles

            “As I said, if you feel that having two parents of the same sex is not optimal, don’t raise your kids with two parents of the same sex. You’re under no obligation to accept others’ standards for raising their children.”

            What about the Children? Do they have a right NOT to be a part of a same sex relationship? I’m afraid they don’t in most cases. If this woman wants to have a child, she can easily do so by having Artificial insemination, or find a man and have a kid who gives up parental rights. The way our society functions these days there would be plenty of men to have a one night sleep over. She doesn’t have to bring the totalitarian hammer to bear against this agency does she? Yet, instead of pursing those options she’s bringing the hammer. This is typical of this movement. “You” show tolerance, and we’ll “Enforce” ours. I see this over and over again.

            “You’re free to brainwash your own kids to believe whatever you want them to believe.
            You don’t have to like what other people believe. Nobody said you did.”

            I have no need, or desire to brainwash anyone, let alone my own children. The Government does however have an interest in that. If your kids go to school and are subject to the homosexual “Teachings”, or “Other” religious teachings, or any other teachings they wish to promote (Which is happening), why is there no counter arguments to these teachings? For example if you teach homosexuality is a normal thing, where is the counter argument of the possible negative consequences of that behavior in the next class? If you teach Evolution, why not teach creationism also, etc. In other words teach kids to think and let them decide what to believe. The problem is they don’t wish to breed thinkers in schools because “You aren’t supposed to think, you simply listen to what we tell you”. They wish to indoctrinate. If they truly desired to breed “Thinkers” they would present all sides, not just one. The Government should have no business in schools, it’s like having wolves guard a hen house.

            “Did I call you any of those things?”

            No you didn’t, and I wasn’t directing it at you personally. I was directing it at the belief system. So I apologize if you thought that was directed at you specifically. I’m speaking of the movement in general.

    • james blue

      So should Laura Ingrahm not have been allowed to adopt?

      • Amos Moses – He>i

        again …. thanks for the opinion from the tent pitched toward Sodom …………

        • james blue

          Is Laura Ingrahm part of the “Sodom” society?

          He said kids need a Mom AND Dad. Ms. Ingrahm is just a Mom, so is there a problem with her adopting as she did? Or are you comments limited to trolling these days?

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            what LI is doing and what two sodomites as “two mommies” or “two daddies” are doing …… NOT synonymous ………. and your epithets about trolling ….. are just that ….. epithets ….

          • james blue

            So says you, but there’s still no father figure and lack of father figure is the argument I’m responding to.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            NOPE ….. so says GOD ….. supposed “conservative christian” …… whose tent is pitched towards SODOM …………..

          • james blue

            Still not addressing what I actually wrote huh?

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            You still have a bent towards sodom ……… and your siding with the sodomites is the issue ……. and you cannot address the SCRIPTURES that might relate ….. and Gods admonition of causing children to fall ……

            the children are much better off with a single heterosexual mother than “two mommies” or “two daddies” who are extremely confused in their worldview ………..

          • james blue

            I also invite you travel to Richardson Tx and place some flowers on the grave of and say a prayer for Sherin Mathews. You, Maxwell and Doug could make a day of it.

            No doubt you’d also like to thank the Lord she was adopted by Heterosexual Christians and not gays.

            Some gays make for great parents, some make for awful parents. Some heterosexuals make for great parents and some make awful parents. Sexuality has zero to do with it.

            However yet again what I actually wrote was a response to the claim that kids have a right to a mom AND Dad and you have still to address that. Do you disagree with his statement that kids have a right to a mum AND dad?

          • LynnRH

            Well another “mommy” is not going to fix the lack of a father figure that’s for sure.

          • james blue

            Okay, but should Ms Ingrahm have been allowed to adopt as a single seeing as it has been said the kids NEED a mom AND dad?

  • Amos Moses – He>i

    Heather ….. i LOVE it when you quote Tozer ….. one of my favorites …….. THNX ………..

  • Reason0verhate

    Look at the one on the right. The poor child will run off and join the foreign legion.

  • Amos Moses – He>i

    Why is it with lesbians ….. it is at least one and sometimes both …… that they feel COMPELLED to look the part of a MAN ……. haircut, dress, speech patterns, etc.. …………..

    • LynnRH

      Remember we are talking about people with mental illness.

  • Those living a life of perversion are spiritually and mentally ill and have no business being allowed to adopt or foster children.

    • james blue

      I invite you travel to Richardson Tx and place some flowers on the gave of and say a prayer for Sherin Mathews.

      No doubt you’d like to thank the Lord she was adopted by Heterosexual Christians and not gays.

      • What happened to that poor child?

        • james blue

          Indian infant with developmental issues adopted by heterosexual Christian Americans, adoptive father charged with her murder. try googling her

          • If he murdered her then he was not a Christian was he.

          • james blue

            Funny how that works.

          • What a weird thing to say. How is that funny?

          • james blue

            The moment a Christian does something bad you say they are not Christian.

          • And how do you know he was a Christian to start with?

          • james blue

            Members of his church helped in the search when she was first reported missing, The parents were one of their flock. I’m a Texan, this was all over the news.

          • I attended church for years before I became a Christian.

          • james blue

            Sigh

  • mikegillespie

    Women, if you want a family, marry a nice man and have babies with him. Anything else is just a parody of a family. Accept no substitutes.