Mich. Gov. OKs Anti-Gay Adoption Bills

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on June 12, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In a move that would be laughable if it wasn't so sad and damaging, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder tried to beat the U.S. Supreme Court's impending same-sex marriage ruling by quickly signing three bills into law that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT people.

The probably unconstitutional laws permit faith-based adoption agencies to discriminate against potential adoptive parents if they are gay.

State Sponsored Discrimination

Gov. Snyder's statement that Michigan is "focused on ensuring that as many children are adopted to as many loving families as possible regardless of their makeup" stands in stark contrast to the new laws, which cover taxpayer funded adoption agencies. The bills would actually limit the number of possible parents by allowing these agencies to discriminate against prospective LGBT parents if the discrimination is based on a sincerely held religious belief.

So while a gay Michigan resident may have to pay for the adoption services via taxes, he or she could be prohibited from accessing their services via "religious freedom" protection legislation. While similar legislation in other states was directed at private businesses, CNN reports Michigan's new law applies to state-funded adoption agencies and could amount to discrimination by the state.

All for Naught?

As noted above, the new laws could be negated by the Supreme Court's upcoming ruling on same-sex marriage. If the Court rules that states must provide the same marriage protection to same-sex couples, that could mean that married same-sex couples would have all of the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples, and that states (and presumably state-funded agencies) could not discriminate against same-sex couples specifically, or LGBT people in general.

In an interesting twist of fate, one of the same-sex marriage cases in front of the court is that of two Michigan women, and their struggle to jointly adopt their four children. April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse were forced to adopt their children individually due to the state's ban on adoption by same-sex couples, and therefore each lacks parental rights to the children the other adopted. The couple sued the state and the case is one of four the Court will soon decide.

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