Agencies Can’t Cite Religious Belief to Bar Kids From Gay Adopters, Rules Michigan’s Lesbian AG

By Alex Madajian | March 29, 2019 | 3:47pm EDT

( — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel recently ordered that foster care and adoption agencies in the state – specifically those that contract with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) – cannot cite religious beliefs to avoid placing children in homosexual homes or with a homosexual adopter.

Attorney General Nessel is a lesbian “married” to her girlfriend, Alanna Maguire, and they have two children.

The directive means that all foster care and adoption services in Michigan that are faith-based and opposed to placing children in homosexual homes could lose their contracts with the state, if they don’t change their policies.

The attorney general’s order grew out of a case from 2017, when two homosexual couples, represented by the ACLU, sued the MDHHS because two of the adoption agencies it contracts with – St. Vincent Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services – refused to place children, referred by the MDHHS, with the gay couples.

Nessel, who took office in January 2019, represented the defendant, the MDHSS.

In announcing the legal settlement on March 21, Nessel said, “Under the terms of the settlement agreement, MDHHS agrees to maintain non-discriminatory provisions in its foster care and adoption agency contracts. MDHHS also agrees to enforce the non-discrimination provisions up to and including termination when a state-contracted agency discriminates against same-sex couples or LGBTQ individuals that may otherwise be qualified foster care or adoptive parents for any child accepted by the agency for services under contract with MDHHS.”

In other words, if you contract with the MDHHS to place children into foster care or into adoption, you must comply with the “non-discrimination provisions” in the contract, regardless of your religious beliefs.

If you are a Christian or Muslim group that believes children have a natural right to a mother and a father, you must nonetheless allow children to be placed into gay households, if that situation should arise.

“Discrimination in the provision of foster care case management and adoption services is illegal, no matter the rationale,” said Nessel. “Limiting the opportunity for a child to be adopted or fostered by a loving home not only goes against the state’s goal of finding a home for every child, it is a direct violation of the contract every child placing agency enters into with the state.”

(Getty Images)

Nessel is "an ideological extremist who has repeatedly demonstrated her animus toward the Catholic Church and people of faith," said Catholic League President Bill Donohue in a statement. "In a settlement with the ACLU, she has decreed that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services must end state contracts with faith-based agencies, rather than allow them to make child placement decisions in accord with their religious beliefs."

"Once again, Nessel demonstrates her contempt for the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom, decreeing that faith-based agencies must check their religious principles at the door before they will be allowed to provide services for children in need," said Donohue. "Nessel is keeping her campaign promise to put her radical agenda ahead of the best interests of children."

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarkdale) said, "Dana Nessel has shown us that she cares little for the Constitution and even less for the vulnerable population of children in need of forever homes. ... Nessel's actions make it clear that she sought the office of attorney general to further her own personal political agenda."

Lori Windham, senior counsel for Becket Law, said, "The Michigan AG and the ACLU are trying to stop the state from working with faith-based adoption agencies. The result of that will be tragic. Thousands of children will be kept from finding the loving homes they deserve."

Dana Nessel and her "wife," Alanna Maguire.  (YouTube)

AG Nessel was the first openly homosexual person elected to a statewide office in Michigan. In 2012, she argued for DeBoer v. Snyder, which challenged the state’s ban an same-sex adoption. The case was eventually repealed, and became consolidated with Obergefell v. Hodges, which ultimately granted the right for same-sex couples to marry.

In 2016, Nessel founded the Fair Michigan Foundation, which is, according to her biography page: “a first of its kind task force which investigates and prosecutes hate crimes committed against the LGBTQ community.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom filed a friend-of-the-court brief for the Dumont v. Gordon case for the MDHHS stating, “In Michigan, there are approximately 13,000 children who are in need of foster care and/or adoptive services. Those children come from a myriad of diverse backgrounds. To fully accommodate these large numbers, a broad spectrum of options is needed.

“A variety of adoption services better serves a diverse public than does a homogenous system. That was certainly the case in Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and Illinois, and for Catholic Charities and the other faith-based institutions before they were forced to shut down their vital work in those respective jurisdictions. ”

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