LGBT, Michigan — September 25, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Adoption discrimination bills pass out of Michigan House committee


Legislation would allow taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to deny placement based on moral or religious views.

At any given time, Michigan has 14,000 children in foster care — children who need good, stable homes. Yet Michigan legislators serving on the Michigan House Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors passed three bills out of committee today that could prevent these children from being adopted.

House Bills 4927, 4928 and 4991 would allow taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to deny an adoption placement based on that agency’s moral or religious beliefs. Emily Dievendorf, Equality Michigan‘s managing director, has testified against the bills each time they came up for a committee vote, alongside parents and advocates from partner organizations. You can read her testimony here.

According to Equality Michigan, these bills could threaten the placement of the more than 3,000 foster care children whose biological parents’ rights have been terminated and who are waiting for homes. The bills acknowledge that denying a couple based on religious or moral convictions does not imply “that the proposed adoption is not in the best interests of the adoptee,” yet they would still legalize discriminatory practices. What’s more, the bills protect public funding for agencies choosing to discriminate.

Simply put: These bills would make discrimination legal and financially reward agencies that engage in discriminatory practices.

Equality Michigan fights for the rights of Michigan’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities, and has joined with Michiganders to oppose these dangerous bills over the past month.

Here’s what Dievendorf said today in a release:

The ongoing efforts by out of touch elected leaders serving in the Michigan Legislature to turn Michigan into a state which values intolerance over reason is alarming and must be stopped. Equality Michigan is proud of our members who sent thousands of emails opposing these bills. We encourage them to tell House leadership that they have an opportunity to do the right thing and kill these bills. We are committed to making sure that our legislators know that Michigan voters will not tolerate efforts to legalize discrimination.

I’m among the many Michiganders who voiced my concerns over these bills. They violate the civil rights of the LGBT community — and could prevent almost anyone from adopting a child just because an agency doesn’t approve of their lifestyle. In a broader sense, it could mean discrimination based on a person’s religion, marital status, race or lifestyle. As long as an individual or couple proves they can provide a stable, loving home for a foster child, why should anything else matter? It doesn’t and it shouldn’t. Unless you’re among those who want Michigan to be a state that’s ruled by intolerance, bigotry and discrimination.

Now that these bills could go before the Michigan House of Representatives for a floor vote, Equality Michigan has launched an action making it easy to encourage House leadership to do the right thing by opposing the bills.

ACTION: Add your voice of support for equality HERE, and tell the Michigan House that discrimination should not keep children from being adopted into loving homes.

[Image credit: Tim Evanson | Wikimedia Commons]