Friday, September 27, 2019

Michigan Catholic Adoption Agency Gets Preliminary Injunction Protecting Its Policy on LGBTQ Couples

In Buck v. Gordon, (WD MI, Sept. 26, 2019), a Michigan federal district court issued a preliminary injunction to prevent the state from requiring that a Catholic adoption and foster care agency place children with same-sex couples. The agency currently refers such couples to other agencies.  As summarized by the court:
The State pays St. Vincent to place children with foster or adoptive parents certified as suitable by the State. St. Vincent has done that faithfully, regardless of whether the certified parents were opposite sex, same-sex, or unmarried couples. St. Vincent would like to continue doing so under existing and renewed contracts with the State.  
What St. Vincent has not done and will not do is give up its traditional Catholic belief that marriage as instituted by God is for one man and one woman. Based on that belief, St. Vincent has exercised its discretion to ensure that it is not in the position of having to review and recommend to the State whether to certify a same-sex or unmarried couple, and to refer those cases to agencies that do not have a religious confession preventing an honest evaluation and recommendation. In 2015, the Michigan legislature enacted legislation designed to protect that choice, and until January of 2019, the State defended the right of the State and St. Vincent to make that choice.
That changed when Defendant Attorney General Nessel took office. Leading up to and during the 2018 general election campaign, she made it clear that she considered beliefs like St. Vincent’s to be the product of hate. She stated that the 2015 law seeking to protect St. Vincent’s practice was indefensible and had discriminatory animus as its sole purpose. After her election, she ... put St. Vincent in the position of either giving up its belief or giving up its contract with the State. That kind of targeted attack on a sincerely held religious belief is what calls for strict scrutiny in this case and supports entry of a preliminary injunction preserving the status quo while the case is fully litigated.
Detroit News reports on the decision.