UPDATE 1:25 p.m. – Equality Michigan has voiced its opposition to the adoption bill package. In a news release the group says the broad language of the bills would allow discrimination against prospective adoptive parents based on “any arbitrary reason”. The group also criticizes the bills for protecting public funding for agencies “choosing to discriminate”.
Original story – (WLNS) – A package of bills changing rules about adoption is making its way back through Michigan’s House after dying in last year’s lame-duck session.
The bills, approved by a 5-3 party line vote in the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee on Wednesday, would allow adoption agencies to refuse to provide services based on religious beliefs. The package would also prevent state or local governments from taking action against adoption agencies for such a choice, including refusing to issue a license or provide funding.
The Michigan Catholic Conference was quick to voice support for the package of bills. Tom Hickson, Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy, said the legislation helps preserve diversity in child placement. “Solidifying the state’s long-standing relationship with faith-based child placement agencies will result in more providers, which means more placement of foster children into ‘forever families’, Hickson adds. Hickson called for the full House to send the bill package over to the State Senate.
The legislation made it through the House last session but didn’t receive Senate approval before session ended.
Bill sponsors say no one will be prevented from adopting in Michigan, but some opponents say the package would allow discrimination against prospective adoptive parents based on any arbitrary reason.