Detroit Free Press: Anti-Adoption RFRA Shameful Moment for Michigan

Posted on June 11, 2015

freepressfbThe Detroit Free Press didn’t take long to publish a no holds barred editorial criticizing the Michigan legislature and Governor Rick Snyder for enacting an anti-adoption RFRA law that now allows adoption and foster agencies to discriminate in the name of so-called religious freedom.

“On Wednesday, Republican majorities in both chambers approved a bill that would allow faith-based adoption agencies — including those who take taxpayer dollars to place children who are in the state’s custody — to discriminate in the practice of their work. They can deny services to families that violate the agency’s religious beliefs, including unmarried couples, same-sex couples and those who hold different religious beliefs.”

“The legislation is a craven attempt to cloak discrimination in faith, and it leaves the best interests of the 13,000 children in the state’s care — entirely out of the equation.”

The editorial accuses the legislature and the Governor of “playing a dangerous game of chicken with the children in its care” because most of all adoption and foster services are run through these faith based organizations that now could deny placement to children in need, simply because they object to the child being adopted by a same-sex or an unmarried couple.

The state of Michigan has an estimated 13,000 children in its care, and 50% of adoption work is done through these religious organizations. By allowing these agencies to discriminate in the name of religion and above the needs of the children in their care, the hopes that these children have of finding a willing home are further dashed. The Detroit Free Press argues that this is not in the best interest of the children or the state, and is ultimately an act of cowardice.

“It embarrasses us all. And it sacrifices the interests of children to make a small-minded point about the nobility of bigotry.

This is the low point to which the state has sunk today, thanks to elected officials who either lack the moral decency or the moral courage to stand for equality alongside religious freedom.”

We thank the Free Press’ editorial board for standing with the majority of Michiganders who believe discrimination is wrong. And though this shameful bill has been signed into law, we know this isn’t the end of attempts to advance harmful anti-LGBT in Michigan this year. We call on Governor Snyder to stay true to his word to veto any stand-alone “license to discriminate” Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) bill.