Michigan adoption agencies can bar LGBGTQ couples, judge rules

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District Judge Robert Jonker ruled that St. Vincent Catholic Charities may deny LGBT couples from adoption services (KEVIN LAVERY / WKAR-MSU

Religious-based adoption agencies contracting with Michigan State can ban LGBTQ couples from adoption services as per a ruling by federal judge in Grand Rapids.

Earlier this year, State Attorney General Dana Nessel effectively reached a settlement that barred faith-based adoption agencies from excluding same-sex couples where adoption services were concerned. 

However, on Thursday, the ruling was shot down by District Judge Robert Jonker by issuing a preliminary injunction that blocks Nessel’s settlement. 

Nessel, Michigan’s first openly gay statewide officeholder and a Democrat, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan sued Michigan State on behalf of two lesbian same-sex couples in 2017. 

Nessel argued that abortion agencies turning away couples for being gay was illegal discrimination. In March 2019, a settlement was reached for overturning the practice. 

Less than a month laterBecket Fund for Religious Liberty and St. Vincent Catholic Charities sued the state naming the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Nessel, and other officials in their lawsuit. 

The faith-based agencies argued that they could not violate their religious beliefs and would have to shut down their foster and adoption care services. 

Jonker’s ruling said that St. Vincent Catholic Charities’ practice to adhere to its long standing belief was not discriminatory. 

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