To receive a State adoption agency license, New York requires that an agency work with all eligible adoptive families – including same-sex married couples. A religious New York adoption agency argues that they can discriminate based on their religious constitutionally protected beliefs. Yesterday, the religious agency and the State appeared for two hours of oral argument before a U.S. Federal Magistrate. Story here.
Tennessee State Representative John Ragan – who put forth legislation to allow state licensed religious adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex married couples – told a reporter that his legislation is intended to discriminate.
Ragan’s legislation is designed to provide a religious exemption from any state adoption licensing requirement that contradicts sincerely held religious beliefs. If Ragan’s position is accepted, any business owned by religious persons with sincerely held religious beliefs offering goods and services to the public could potentially legally discriminate against non religious persons.
Essentially Representative Ragan’s position is that a person who physically exits a house of worship and desires to apply their sincerely held beliefs into the world at large outside of the house of worship should be entitled to operate businesses and maintain beliefs even if those beliefs contradict State and Federal laws designed to protect discrimination.
This week in adoption, two stories to report; both regarding gay adoption.
Tennessee has introduced legislation establishing legal grounds for adoption agencies to refuse service to couples seeking to adopt based on religiously held beliefs. If approved, the legislation is designed to use religious beliefs to deny service.
Sony pictures just purchased the rights to distribute an Argentinean film on a gay couple’s adoption journey. The film will first be distributed in three Latin American territories; talks continue for a wider distribution.
Seventy-Eight US Congress members signed this letter and support this legislation permitting discrimination exemptions for religious U.S. adoption agencies. If signed into law, any religious adoption agency could cite the law to deny service to U.S. citizens, including the intended target: same-sex adopting couples.
According to this article, Russian law bans single parents and same-sex couples from adopting. Russian children account for half of all foreign children adopted in Israel. It appears that Israel and Russia have just reached a formal agreement that same-sex couples in Israel will not be able to adopt Russian children.
Here’s a recent federal case wherein an United States citizen in the military followed the proper procedures to bring their foreign-born fifteen year old neice to the United States for adoption, but the family then missed the age 16 deadline to file for adoption. As a result of the missed adoption filing deadline, a Federal Judge just ruled that the child must leave the United States.
A federal lawsuit to block Michigan from contracting or funding faith-based agencies that forbid assisting same-sex families adopt survived a motion to dismiss filed by the State of Michigan and a faith-based adoption agency.
United States District Judge Paul Borman’s ruling will now allow the case to move forward to consider blocking any state funding to faith-based adoption agencies who reject same-sex families.
U.S. Families seeking to adopt foreign born children are strongly encouraged to consult with U.S. adoption and U.S. immigration attorneys prior to pursuing adoption. The legal adoption in the foreign country or U.S. will not confer automatic citizen and you could run into a serious problem wherein your child may be deported. Here’s an article about a recent family living through this nightmare.