Michigan Just Got Hit With a Lawsuit for Letting Adoption Agencies Discriminate Against Gay People

The ACLU says 2015 legislation violates the First Amendment rights of LGBT couples.

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The ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday to challenge Michigan legislation that allows adoption agencies that receive state funds to refuse service to same-sex couples on religious grounds. 

Kristy and Dana Dumont, plaintiffs in the case, were turned away from two local adoption agencies in Ingham County in July 2016 and March 2017. “We wanted to adopt out of foster care in our local community so it would be the least disruptive for the kid,” Kristy said on a conference call announcing the lawsuit today. “We wouldn’t want to take them away from family…and we would want them to stay connected with friends.” In calls with the agencies, Kristy explained, “They both said no, and that this is not their practice to place children with same-sex families.”

The legislation was signed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in 2015. Six other states have similar laws in place—Alabama, South Dakota, Texas, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Virginia. Three of those laws passed in the past year and ACLU attorney Leslie Cooper said this is the first time any of them have been challenged in court. 

Cooper argued the law violates the First Amendment right to religious freedom because the state is “delegating its child welfare services to private organizations that use religious criteria.” According to the lawsuit, Michigan is also in violation of the Equal Protection Clause because the 14th Amendment “prohibits the State from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.”

“We are hopeful that in this case we will get a ruling that will send a loud message to state legislatures that the constitution does not permit these kinds of laws that deprive children of loving families for no reason,” Cooper said. 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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