State officials in Michigan have agreed to allow child welfare providers in their state to operate according to their religious beliefs – without being punished by the government.
Officials with the Alliance Defending Freedom said in an announcement this week that the agreement resolves a lawsuit that had been filed on behalf of Catholic Charities West Michigan.
It is just one of many similar fights that have developed in the nation since the Supreme Court created the right to same-sex “marriage” several years ago.
Since then, leftist and anti-Christian activists have brought a multitude of claims against Christian organizations that provide help to needy children claiming that they must provide the same services to same-sex duos as they do to married couples.
The Supreme Court has yet to clarify the cloud of doubt it created endorsing same-sex unions, but then not defining that constitutionally protected religious rights should trump the newly created “marriage” rights.
“As part of a stipulated court order and judgment, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services conceded that it would violate the First Amendment to take any adverse action against Catholic Charities because the ministry prioritizes placing foster and adoptive children in homes with a married mother and father,” the announcement about the case said.
Also, the state agreed to pay $250,000 toward the nonprofit’s attorney’s fees and costs.
“More adoption and foster care providers mean more children have the chance to be adopted or cared for by a foster family,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jeremiah Galus. “Catholic Charities West Michigan meets a critical need as one of the region’s largest social service providers, reuniting children with their birth parents and placing foster kids in loving homes.
“We are pleased Catholic Charities can continue its vital mission serving vulnerable families in Michigan without being punished by the government simply because it’s operating according to its religious beliefs—the very reason the ministry exists in the first place.”
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled just recently, in a related dispute, that Philadelphia was not allowed to discontinue a longterm program it had with a Catholic agency designed to help foster care children because of the agency’s insistence on following its religious faith regarding families and marriage.
In Michigan, Catholic Charities has served western Michigan for more than 70 years with an array of child welfare, family preservation, and behavioral health services.
“Over the past decade, the charity has placed approximately 4,500 children in homes and annually serves more than 30,000 individuals through its numerous ministries,” the ADF report said. “Its foster care ministry focuses on family reunification and provides support well above the state’s minimum requirements. Catholic Charities offers foster parent training opportunities; funding for children’s medical, dental, clothing, and extracurricular needs; and transportation for birth parents so they can be involved with children’s activities, despite temporary separation.”
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs had asked the court to protect Catholic Charities from being singled out and punished because of its faith standards.
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