A recent news headline states that an Evangelical agency claims First Amendment right to refuse placements with gay couples and that the state of New York says the stance violates the law. This relates to a licensed evangelical adoption agency in central New York state that receives no government funding but that refuses to place children with same-sex couples despite a five-year-old anti discrimination law. Child welfare workers in New York have told this agency to either accept LGBTQ clients or close their doors. Another heading , states that Religious adoption agency can’t exclude gay parents. This in regards to a Federal ruling in Pennsylvania. This ruling was in relation to a private agency , Catholic Charities, who did , indeed , receive state funding from placement of children that were in the state foster care system.
On a national level, the debate over this issue centers on a regulation put in place by the Obama administration just days before President Barack Obama left office. Programs that receive federal funding through the Department of and Human Services, according to the Obama administration rule, are barred from discriminating on the basis of religion, gender identity or sexual orientation. The rule states that, under the Supreme Court’s decision that legally recognized same-sex marriage nationwide, “all recipients must treat as valid the marriages of same-sex couples.”
It is understandable that the state and federal governments want to limit the private agencies that they are paying to those that are playing within the rules of their game, but what about agencies that are not receiving funding from the state or federal government ?
Private adoption agencies have a big responsibility when it comes to child placement . The mother , or parents of the child have signed over their parental rights to the agency. In essence, the agency is now the parent of the child. In cases where the state is placing children that are in their care, the parental rights have usually been terminated by the courts, and the government is now the parent(s) to that child. Oftentimes the state has children available , but no families that are willing to take in these children , and that is when they will reach out for assistance from a private agency . The Catholic Church , as an example, has a vast pool of families that are church members in which to draw from , the state is very limited in their ability to encourage quality families to adopt older children or sibling groups or to become foster parents.
In private placement adoption , outside of an agency , the pregnant woman locates a family on her own . She usually located the family via an adoption attorney or friend or family member or even on social media. As the parent , she is able to describe and dictate exactly what she is looking for in a family. Her choice may be based on education , race, sexual orientation , location , religion , number of other children that the parent (s) have and many other attributes. It would, of course , be absurd , to require her to choose a family that was opposed to her requirements.
Because the agency has taken on the role of the parent , should they , in turn , be forced to put a child into a home that is opposed to their requirements ? Will the Jewish agencies then be required to place children in Mormon homes ? What about agencies that have long focused on the placement of African American children into the homes of African American parents ? Will they be required to place black children with white families, although there are black families available for the child ? Will the agencies that specialize in LBGTQ placements also be sued for discrimination ? There are agencies that specialize in special needs adoptions . Will the state sue them because they refuse to place healthy children ?
We recently had an attorney post a case on our adoption post board on chosenparents.com. A gay couple called her and she explained that she was Catholic and that she could not work with them. The couple called us and they were very angry that we allowed her to post on our board. They felt that we were allowing this discrimination. We explained that the mother of the baby is Catholic and wanted a Catholic lawyer , and a Catholic adopting family. By banning her, the mother and the baby would suffer. They were not happy , but we made some suggestions and pointed them in the direction of another young progressive attorney that we deal with at braxtonlawyers.com . They had a baby girl in their home within 3 months.
There is a huge need for families for older children that are in the system. All LBGTQ applicants are always welcome. Closing faith based agencies will only eliminate homes for many of these children . They are not eliminating children for LBGTQ families. There is room for everyone that is dedicated to assist in finding loving homes for children that are in the system . The continued battle will not change the mindset of those that run the agencies, will not create additional children for LBGTQ families, will create fewer homes for the children that are available, so the end result may very well have put all involved in a worse position that they were in . If you are a member of the LBGTQ community , we encourage you to call around and find a service that you are comfortable with. Adoption should always be a positive journey for all involved.
Yes, it is a sticky topic, but at the end of the day , who wants to order their wedding cake from a baker that didn’t want to bake it ? Would he really make it to the best of his ability if he is forced to ? Much better to go to the baker that is thrilled for you and puts his/her heart into it.. you will be happier in the long run and the cake will probably taste a lot better.