A number of former foster children now helping others find homes through faith-based adoption agencies told a Michigan court that there will be “devastating” consequences if such agencies are shut down over their views on same-sex marriage. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing agencies such as St. Vincent Catholic Charities over its conservative stance on marriage, accusing it of turning down same-sex couples who want to adopt. “St. Vincent rescues children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds like mine and gives them a chance to be part of a loving family,” said Shamber Flore, who once found her adoptive family through St. Vincent.
“We can’t let the ACLU take that away,” Flore added. Melissa Buck, a mother of five special needs children adopted through the agency, also talked about the vital role St. Vincent plays. “We continue to rely on vital support services St. Vincent provides to this day. If these programs were shut down, it would be devastating for our family,” Buck said. The ACLU is challenging Michigan’s practice of permitting state-funded child placement agencies to use religious criteria to turn away LGBT prospective foster and adoptive parents. “There are currently 13,000 children in the state welfare system,” it says on its website.
“Our lawsuit states that the State of Michigan is hurting its most vulnerable children and violating the Constitution by allowing taxpayer-funded child placement agencies to deny these children qualified foster and adoptive families based on religious eligibility criteria that have nothing to do with the ability to care for a child.” Becket has argued that St. Vincent helps same-sex couples adopt from other agencies, even if it itself cannot violate its beliefs on marriage. The law group added that in 2017, St. Vincent successfully recruited more new adoptive families than nearly 90 percent of other agencies in the area.
“ACLU is trying to punish St. Vincent because of its beliefs but the only casualties from its needless lawsuit are the kids,” stated Stephanie Barclay, counsel at Becket. “Shutting down one of the most effective adoption agencies in the city helps no one and instead hurts thousands of vulnerable children.” Flore has in the past said that children in adoption programs are highly vulnerable and need all the help that they can get, with many of them having suffered abuse due to drugs, prostitution, and neglect. “I don’t understand why the ACLU is trying to take away hope from children who were once like me,” Flore said.
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