Bills let agencies refuse adoptions due to morals

Sep 18, 2013

Lawmakers could vote this week on bills letting faith-based agencies refuse to participate in adoptions that violate their beliefs, despite accusations that they would permit discrimination against gays and others.

Advocates of the legislation say it would codify existing practice into law and preemptively protect religious child-placing organizations from repercussions if Michigan ever legalizes gay marriage or civil unions. In 2011, Illinois ended long-standing contracts with Catholic Charities to provide foster care and adoptions because of the group's practice of referring unmarried couples to other agencies.

Critics say the bills would authorize discrimination by agencies receiving state funding for child placements.

It is the latest dispute over "conscience" legislation, measures pushed by the Michigan Catholic Conference and other groups to protect their religious freedom. A bill that would let health workers and businesses object to providing contraception or other medical services on moral grounds has been pending on the floor of the Senate for five months.

Written By: David Eggert
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0 comments on “Bills let agencies refuse adoptions due to morals

  • In reply to #1 by old-toy-boy:

    I don’t see much of a connection between morals and faith based agencies.

    If there is a correlation, it is a negative one.


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  • Bills let agencies refuse adoptions due to morals

    A very misleading title. Surely “Bills let faith-based agencies refuse adoptions due to bigotry and prejudices formed on the basis of their dogma” would be more accurate.

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  • 5
    Stevehill says:

    Back to the ark stuff, from a UK perspective. ALL our political parties have a settled consensus that you must not discriminate in adoption matters, and we legalised that position some years ago.

    The Catholic agencies (about a dozen of them) screamed and shouted and stamped their feet because they wanted to reserve the right not to have children adopted by gay people.

    So we closed them all down.

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  • I think its wrong to consider all these laws as if they are the same. The law about contraception is clearly wrong. Strip away the sophistry and such laws are nothing more than one group imposing their view of morality on others. If you don’t like contraception then find don’t use it but that doesn’t give you the right to tell people you hire how to live their lives, especially in a country like the US where healthcare is not provided for all by the government and people have to rely on their employers as their first source for insurance.

    But the adoption laws are not as clear cut. My guess is knowing how insane US state Republicans are these days if I looked at the details of the law I would find plenty to object to but in principle the idea that someone who is volunteering their time to help others can put some constraints on how that time will be used seems reasonable. Imagine if some atheist created their own adoption agency, paid for completely by donations from other atheists. Would it be so unreasonable if that agency said they were going to give a strong preference to families that believed in science and critical thinking over say a couple that believed in young earth creationism?

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  • They would prohibit the state or a local government from denying a child-placing agency a grant or contract if it objects to facilitating, referring or participating in an adoption that violates the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.

    It’s quite telling that they separate religious and moral convictions, since religious convictions have nothing to do with morality. Religions have no reasonable justifications for why they deny or allow certain actions, justifications which are necessary when making moral judgements.

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  • 9
    Stephen of Wimbledon says:

    Bills let agencies refuse adoptions due to morals

    This is clearly right.

    Politically-guided charities, particularly Catholic ones, are making decisions based on their rules of right and wrong behaviour, because that’s all that moral means.

    As the history of the Catholic Church shows, rules change.

    Morals are highly subjective. What is moral to you may be highly immoral to me. A Catholic will be likely to complain loudly about granting equal status to gay people. I, on the other hand, believe that preaching against contraception in poor countries – and countries that have a high incidence of AIDS – is so immoral it’s evil.

    What is missing from our politics is recognition of the fact that morals are the political positions of factional leaders, and that politics changes. The history of the Catholic Church is not only a history of change – it’s a history of change to meet the demands of the lay congregation. Sometimes this happens even against centuries of oppressive preaching and control by the Church Elders.

    Catholic leaders claim that Catholics make up about 25% of the US population. Even allowing for some margin for error, they are a significant minority faction.

    But it would be better for us all if politicians of all stripes recognised, pretty please, that faction leaders do not always reflect the views, and morals, of the followers they claim.


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  • The term gay or straight refers solely to who you are going to fancy, wish to sleep with and possibly form romantic attachments to. It doesn’t ever determine any other traits, capacity to love, be a friend, be interesting, be vile, be nice, be dull whatever. It merely signifies what sort of genitalia you like.

    What children need is unconditional love, someone in their corner, someone caring for them, feeding them, being there. Someone to give them security and protection. Nowhere on that list do we find sexual preferences.

    I’ve taught children who’ve been adopted by both gay and straight couples. There is no difference at all between those parents in anything that really, really matters. Whether gay or straight they are there for every parents eve, fighting like tigers for everything their kids need and so on. Not only that they are doing so with children that do not carry their genes but do carry horrendous emotional baggage. They are unsung heros – wothy of every bit of admiration we can muster. And us teachers give it.

    And children in care do not fare well. Our high profile abuse cases have nearly always involved vulnerable children from the care system. So as far as I’m concerned the religious really should put the interests of children far above their morbid interests in the sex lives of adoptive parents. And I’m glad we’ve managed that here in the UK. For the sake of the most vulnerable in society.

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