Monday, March 25, 2019

In Settlement Agreement, Michigan Will Enforce LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Provisions Against Religious Adoption Agencies

As previously reported, last September a Michigan federal district court in Dumont v. Lyon held that same-sex couples can move ahead with their Establishment Clause and equal protection claims against the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) for permitting child placing agencies receiving state funds to use religious criteria to deny them services. Last Friday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that the state has entered into a settlement agreement (full text) (summary) that calls for the state to enforce non-discrimination provisions in agreements with foster care and adoption agencies.  The settlement applies to any agency contracting with MDHHS that discriminates against same-sex couples or LGBTQ individuals otherwise qualified as foster care or adoptive parents for any child accepted by the agency under a contract with MDHHS. These child placement agencies may not turn away or refer to another agency, or refuse to place a child with, an otherwise potentially qualified LGBTQ individual or same-sex couple. However a child placement agency may refuse for any reason to accept a referral from MDHHS of any particular child.