Despite claims that he doesn’t support the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA) for Michigan, Gov. Snyder has signed a package of three bills into law that are accurately described as “RFRA for Adoptions”.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder signs law letting adoption agencies refuse referrals that violate beliefs.
— David Eggert (@DavidEggert00) June 11, 2015
By signing the legislation into law, Gov. Snyder is joining his fellow Republicans in saying that children waiting to be adopted are better off without a permanent home than they are with two loving parents of the same gender.
Actions like this are not “progress”. They are not “restoring religious freedom”. They are not “Christian”. They are using religion as a cudgel to force the narrow, bigoted religious views of a small segment of our society onto everyone else. It is the continuation of the formation of a state-level theocracy and it should frighten even the most devoutly spiritual people of our state.
The painful irony in all of this is that the U.S. Supreme Court may well make marriage equality the law of the land within a few weeks but, in Michigan, because of our antiquated civil rights statutes and these new laws, you would be able to legally marry your same-sex spouse but also be legally fired from your job or denied housing based on your sexual orientation or gender identity and be denied services from an adoption agency, as well.
UPDATE: Via Chad Livengood from The Detroit News, the Michigan Catholic Conference was doing a victory lap before the Governor’s office made the official announcement.
— Chad Livengood (@ChadLivengood) June 11, 2015
UPDATE 2: Democratic House Leader Tim Greimel responds:
I am bitterly disappointed by Gov. Rick Snyder’s signing of the adoption discrimination bills into law today. Just three months ago, Snyder said he would not support a proposal allowing people and businesses to use their faith as legal grounds to discriminate. I can’t understand his action today as anything other than a betrayal of Michigan’s diverse population. Adoption agencies receive taxpayer dollars, and they shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate against taxpayers who pay them. The previous law required adoption agencies to do what’s best for the child, period. That should always be our focus, and Michigan deserves better from our governor.
UPDATE 3: MI-05 Congressman Dan Kildee issued this statement:
It is an absolute disgrace that Governor Snyder has given adoption agencies a license to discriminate against loving Michigan families. Right now, there are thousands of children in the state’s foster care system waiting to be placed in nurturing homes. We should be focused on finding all of these children a permanent place to live, not denying some Michigan families the ability to adopt a child simply because they are gay. That is wrong and simply cruel.
The people of Michigan want to live in a state where all loving families are accepted and treated with dignity and respect. Sadly, in signing these dangerous and discriminatory bills today, Gov. Snyder has enshrined discrimination in our laws and taken our state in the wrong direction.
UPDATE 4: The Michigan ACLU is promising a legal challenge. From Rana Elmir, ACLU of Michigan deputy director (emphasis mine):
We’re deeply disappointed that Governor Snyder signed this dangerous legislation. We are developing a lawsuit with our Muslim, Jewish, Christian and LGBTQ partners. We encourage any family looking to adopt or foster children who believe they will be adversely affected by this law to contact us immediately. The agencies that are subject to HB 4188-4190 are receiving state money to perform a public function and are therefore state actors. Agencies have a legal obligation to ensure the best interests of the child are considered during placement. There is nothing about this shameful legislation that helps vulnerable kids find homes.