Bills pass 65-44 with immediate effect, proving that the legislation’s supporters can’t wait to hate.
Despite the passionate, well-reasoned arguments of opponents, a package of discriminatory adoption bills passed the Michigan House on Wednesday and were given immediate effect. House Bills 4188-4190 allow faith-based adoption agencies to place their religious views above the best interests of children in need — even when the agencies are funded by the state.
A number of Democratic representatives spoke out against the legislation, pointing out that the bills would allow for discrimination not only against the LGBT community, but also against people of faiths other than those of the adoption agencies. The point was also made several times that these bills violate Article 1, Section 4 of the Michigan Constitution (emphasis mine):
Every person shall be at liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. No person shall be compelled to attend, or, against his consent, to contribute to the erection or support of any place of religious worship, or to pay tithes, taxes or other rates for the support of any minister of the gospel or teacher of religion. No money shall be appropriated or drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious sect or society, theological or religious seminary; nor shall property belonging to the state be appropriated for any such purpose. The civil and political rights, privileges and capacities of no person shall be diminished or enlarged on account of his religious belief.
Other valid arguments brought up by the bills’ Democratic opponents include the fact that when children are adopted into forever homes, it reduces the cost burden on the state of keeping those children in the foster system. What’s more, the Legislature was reminded, it is their sworn duty to put the best interests of their constituents above all else, including their religion.
Clearly, that did not happen.
In a statement, Progress Michigan’s Communications Director Hugh Madden called these bills “a license to discriminate for adoption agencies that receive state dollars.”
Conservatives need to prioritize helping kids find loving families, not pushing their extremist ideology that seeks to enshrine discrimination into state law. Families are families — no matter what they look like — and it’s time the House Republicans started realizing that fact. We’re already battling enough discriminatory laws like this in our state and enough is enough.
The bill package must pass the Senate before going to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature.
I join Progress Michigan in calling on Gov. Snyder to put an end to this legislation by publicly opposing discrimination against families. According to Progress Michigan, Gov. Snyder has waffled on the issue recently and refused to take a stand.
“This bill is about politics, not religious freedom and we’d hope that Gov. Snyder would realize that,” said Madden. “There are other priorities for the state to focus on and perpetuating religious intolerance and discrimination is not one of them.”
Let’s make some noise.
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