Federal Judge Rules Catholic Adoption Agency Can Refuse LGBT Parents

Well, if it’s good for one denomination’s agency, it’s good for the rest.

In a victory for religious freedom, a federal judge in Michigan ruled a Catholic adoption agency that contracts with the state will be allowed to refuse to handle adoption requests that would place children with LGBTQ couples.

The judge pointedly noted that in opposing the agency, the state’s attorney general engaged in a “targeted attack” on the agency’s “sincerely held religious belief.”

The ruling came Sept. 26 in a case cited as Buck v. Gordon, which involved Lansing-based St. Vincent Catholic Charities, along with Chad and Melissa Buck, parents of five children with special needs, and Shamber Flore, a former foster child.

St. Vincent has stated that “as a Catholic organization, [it] cannot provide a written recommendation to the State evaluating and endorsing a family situation that would conflict with [its] religious beliefs.” This means it can’t endorse adoption for “unmarried or LGBTQ couples consistent with its Catholic mission.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel was elected Nov. 6, 2018, becoming the first openly gay person to win statewide office in the Mitten State, as well as the first Democrat to hold the post of attorney general in two decades.

Nessel refused to defend a 2015 state law protecting the agency’s religious freedoms because, in her own words, she “could not justify using the state’s money” to defend “a law whose only purpose is discriminatory animus,” Judge Robert J. Jonker of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan wrote in his ruling.