Michigan Passes An Anti-LGBT Adoption Bill
Yesterday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill that allows faith-based adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples. The bill, which was passed through both chambers of the state legislature this week, allows faith-based adoption agencies—even those receiving tax-payer funds—to deny services to anyone who violates their religious beliefs including single LGBT individuals, same-sex couples, unmarried couples, or couples who hold different religious beliefs.
In Michigan, 13,000 children are in the state’s care and about half of all adoption work in the state is conducted by religious groups, who now have the right to discriminate against same-sex couples. Michigan’s predicament, along with the spread of religious freedom laws across the country highlight the need for comprehensive non-discrimination laws to provide LGBT Americans and their families with the same protections currently afforded to other Americans.
Anti-LGBT adoption bills are not only illogical, they are also unpopular. There is overwhelming evidence that LGBT individuals are capable of effective parenting and often more willing than heterosexual couples to be foster parents. And with a growing population of children in need a foster care, we cannot afford to allow these discriminatory practices. Moreover, support for same-sex adoption is high across the board. According to the Public Religion Research Institute in America, 80 percent of Jews, 75 percent of religiously unaffiliated Americans, 68 percent of white mainline Protestants, and 61 percent of Catholics support adoption by same-sex parents.
Despite widespread popular support, only seven states currently have explicit laws prohibiting discrimination against LGBT foster parents. In Florida yesterday Gov. Rick Scott signed a repeal of a decades-old bill prohibiting LGBT adoption, five years after a judge ruled the ban unconstitutional. But in a letter announcing the repeal, Scott said he hopes the Florida legislature will take future action to ensure a religious exemption.
BOTTOM LINE: Supporters of religious exemption bills like those passed this week in Michigan and North Carolina and Indiana’s controversial “Religious Freedom” bill argue that these bills protect the conscience of religious groups. But in reality, bills like the one signed by Gov. Snyder yesterday are about making religion into a political weapon at the expense of real children and families.