Michigan House Committee Passes Bills to Deny Children Homes

Michigan has 14,000 children in foster care at any moment, over 5,000 of whom need homes because their biological parents’ rights have been terminated. A Michigan House committee, however, has passed two bills that would allow adoption agencies to deny an adoption placement based on the agency’s moral or religious beliefs. While agencies could use that to deny placements with many people, it’s pretty clear the main targets are LGBT people.

The bills (which now go to the full House) were sponsored by Representative Kenneth Kurtz (R-Coldwater) in the Michigan House Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors. Kurtz  told Right Michigan in 2009, “I have always been in support of the traditional family and family values. This is the best for our children and their future.”

Michigan already prevents same-sex couples from adopting jointly, although two lesbian moms of three are challenging that law.

Equality Michigan, the state’s LGBT advocacy organization, notes that “the bills acknowledge that denying a couple based on religious or moral convictions does not imply ‘that the proposed adoption is not in the best interests of the adoptee.’” In other words, even if the proposed adoption is in the best interests of the children, an agency could prevent a couple from adopting.

Yes, I do believe that private agencies have the right to make their own rules (even if I don’t like them)—but as Equality Michigan notes, “the bills protect public funding for agencies choosing to discriminate.” That’s wrong.

Equality Michigan and Howard Dean’s Democracy for America are collecting signatures against the bill. They’ll send them on to the Michigan House.

I have hope not only because of the 10,000 e-mails already sent in opposition to the bills, but because families like Diego and Kent Love-Ramirez have spoken out at hearings (and brought their son), as in the video below.

For more on how bills and laws like this hurt children, see “Finding Children Forever Homes: LGBT Foster & Adoptive Families” from the Movement Advancement Project.