You may have known that in Michigan, private non-profit groups often help with the adoption process and placement of kids without parents via their various social service programs. It’s hard work at times to find appropriate adoptive parents, particularly for what some call “hard to place” children, children who might have struggles or who aren’t sweet infants, and so on. So social agencies of all kinds have been praised for even taking a stab at this sometimes tricky work.
However, state taxpayers provide some state monies to these groups, in a sort of stipend/contract/placement plan for successful placements of a kid with adoptive parents. Money that all the taxpayers of the state are helping kick in, whether the taxpayer be Baptist or Muslim or Jew or Society of Friends or Latter Day Saints. And a fair question arises–may an agency gladly take state dollars, but discriminate in the provision of those services?
Thus a tension of sorts though has long been in the air—some of the groups who help with adoptions have religious roots or are religious offshoots of a church. And some of those organizations essentially refused to serve some folks, in what some people likened to reverse religious discrimination. The agencies, of course, often said, they were simply operating according to their values and would try to refer folks who don’t fit their criteria to other social agencies.
In reality though, it meant that oft times if you were gay or lesbian and trying to adopt, or even, in other rarer cases, you didn’t espouse the religious beliefs of the particular agency, you simply wouldn’t even be considered. And because of that difficulties, not only has legislation been kicked around, but also, lawsuits were instituted. The lawsuits were initiated in 2017 by same sex couples and others, and a big part of the lawsuit, really, was against the state, for allowing their contracted agencies, to discriminate.
Now, as is often the case, after some preliminary back and forth in the law suits, and before a final judicial finding, but at the urging of the Courts, no doubt, the primary parties involved in the lawsuits have settled this adoption discrimination lawsuit, and an announcement was made of this settlement just today.
To see the actual settlement language–to read it for yourself, you can go here: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/ag/Settlement_Agreement_with_Sig_Pages_-_FINAL_650100_7.pdf and for an press release type explanation you can go here: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/ag/03.22.19_FINAL_Dumont_settlement_summary_650097_7.pdf
Let us know if you’d like more information or if you are having hassles that may be the result of unfair discrimination.