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MLive: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday quickly signed controversial legislation allowing adoption agencies that contract with the state to decline service to prospective parents on religious grounds.
The Detroit News: Lawmakers continued a Michigan battle over religious and civil rights Wednesday with the passage of legislation allowing faith-based agencies to turn away gay and lesbian couples seeking state-supported adoptions.
Michigan approves bills that allow adoption agencies to refuse service based on sexual orientation and religion
World Religion News: There are three bills heading toward the Governor’s desk passed through the House on party line votes. Prior to the votes, two hours of opposition and supporting testimonies were given by a wide range of people, including parents of varying sexual orientation who have adopted children into their homes.
Michigan adoption agencies may soon be allowed to refuse some applicants applicants on religious grounds
Christian Today: House Bill 4188 provides that adoption agencies can refuse to provide any services “under circumstances that conflict with the child placing agency’s sincerely held religious beliefs contained in a written policy, statement of faith, or other document adhered to by the child placing agency.”
Detroit Free Press: On 4-1 party-line votes, the Senate Families Seniors and Human Services passed three bills that will allow Faith-based adoption agencies to refuse to serve prospective parents based on their religious beliefs.
AZ Central: Married same-sex couples will be allowed to adopt and foster Arizona children together, effective immediately, according to a statement Gov. Doug Ducey issued Wednesday night.
Click On Detroit (AP): The Republican-led state House has approved bills that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate based on religion.
Public Discourse: Dolce and Gabbana, whether they use the term or not, are strong advocates of natural law.
The Washington Post: Every few weeks or so, it seems, I hear of another family on the verge of “disruption,” the term used to describe families relinquishing back to the system children they have adopted. As with divorce, in some of these situations, there is no alternative to the tragic outcome. But as with divorce, in other cases, many of the adoptions did not need the nuclear option.
The Federalist: Life can change in a moment. South Korean pastor Lee Jong-Rak had such a moment when his son, Eun-man, was born with cerebral palsy and a severely disfigured face in the mid-1980s. Lee sold his home and his family business to pay his son’s medical bills, and moved his small family into the hospital. Eun-man—whose name means “full of God’s grace”—was given only months to live.
The Daily Signal: Should faith-based adoption providers have to agree to placing children with same-sex couples? The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act would protect the right of child welfare providers, including private and faith-based adoption and foster care agencies, to continue providing valuable services to families and children.
EWTN News: With increasing pressure on adoption and foster care agencies to act against their religious beliefs, the U.S. bishops are pushing for legislation to protect them.
The Hill: A GOP bill unveiled this week would ensure that states don’t exclude faith-based organizations from offering child welfare services.
ERLC: South Korean pastor Lee Jong-rak could hardly fathom the reality of what he was seeing in the streets of his city. What could compel a woman to leave her newborn alone in a cold alleyway, destined to die a harsh and cruel death? He decided to do something about it.
National Review: Thursday is the last opportunity to see The Drop Box during a three-day run in theaters across the country (there will be a DVD). The Drop Box is the inspiring, challenging, beautiful story of a South Korean pastor and his family who welcome abandoned children into their home. Kelly Rosati is vice president of Community Outreach at Focus on the Family, a partner in and advocate for the film. She talks about the film, adoption, and her work.
WILX: Legislators will take their first look at a set of bills Wednesday, that would allow adoption agencies to refuse services if those services conflicted with the agency’s “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Juicy Ecumenism: A Christian pastor in South Korea is getting a surge of publicity after filmmakers took notice of his controversial effort to rescue abandoned infants. Pastor Lee Jong-rak of Seoul’s Jusarang Church, responding to an increasing number of infants turning up on city streets, opened a “baby box” for parents to deposit babies that they could not care for.
Family Studies: Last week, the New York Times chronicled the dramatic case of two babies switched at birth. Two decades ago, two mothers came home from a hospital in southern France with the wrong daughters. As the girls got older it became increasingly clear that they had little biological resemblance to their parents. Indeed, the father of one girl left her mother because he was suspicious of the girl’s origins.
WCVB (ABC News): “When I walked into the room, they all turned to me and said, ‘Leo has Down syndrome,’” he told ABC News. “I had a few moments of shock.”
Couple refuses to destroy embryos and places them up for adoption; helps give children to two families
The Christian Post: Two couples have been blessed by one couple’s decision to donate their unused embryos and adopt them out to other couples in need.
Breitbart: In its 2013-2014 annual report, abortion giant Planned Parenthood states it performed 327,653 abortions and 1,880 adoption referrals, leaving 174 abortions for every adoption referral.
The Christian Institute: The Roman Catholic Church has reluctantly cut its ties with the largest specialist adoption agency in Northern Ireland, following a court ruling in favour of same-sex couple adoption in the Province.
The Christian Post: They’re suing because of the difficulties of raising a black child in a white community, but they were perfectly willing to risk raising the child without a father—a situation that the best evidence suggests poses far greater consequences for the child. Make no mistake: this is one of those stories that’s a mirror of our culture’s view of sex and children.
Christianity Today: Out of the blue, the one most emotionally steady among my children burst through the comfortable silence of six sets of eyes fixed on the landscape outside of the windows. “Why did she leave me?” she sobbed.
First Things: What do donor conception, surrogacy, divorce, and adoption have in common? According to the newly-founded International Children’s Rights Institute (ICRI), they are all practices which violate the rights of children to be born free, to be raised by his or her biological parents wherever possible, and to have a knowledge of the heritage of his or her biological parents.
National Review: The fortunes of the main branches of American social conservatism are rapidly diverging. On the one hand, we are riding a wave of pro-life legislation sweeping across the nation. Dozens of pro-life laws have been passed in the states in just the past few years, and pro-life sentiment, especially among young people, is hovering around an all-time high. On the other hand, in the wake of United States v. Windsor, it seems that every week another state’s definition of marriage is being overturned by state or federal courts. Our cultural consensus in favor of the traditional definition of marriage has collapsed — most precipitously among young people.
National Right to Life: The Bauers’ attorney, Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jason Guinasso, says the court then “responded to them by stating their faith had no relevance to the decision that had to be made regarding carrying the pregnancy to term or not. Further, the Court set up a series of hearings over the course of 40 days to consider whether to force Bill and Amy’s daughter to have an abortion. Indeed, the doctor summoned by the Court stated at one of the hearings that the only compassionate thing to do was to sterilize the Bauers’ daughter and abort the baby.”
The Christian Post: The parents of a mentally disabled woman who was almost forced to have an abortion have finalized the adoption of the baby girl, now almost 2.
Public Discourse: In any given year, hundreds of thousands of children spend time in the US foster care system, a quarter of them seeking adoption into a loving family. Yet many of these children bounce from home to home, never adopted, and enter adult life without any family ties. Public policy should seek to increase the likelihood of adoption by removing barriers to families that are seeking to adopt and to providers that are seeking to place children in need of a home.
The Daily Signal: Various states have adopted policies that would require faith-based providers to place children with same-sex couples, in violation of some agencies’ deeply held beliefs that children deserve a mom and a dad – effectively forcing these agencies out of adoption and foster care service.
The Salt Lake Tribune: The Utah Supreme Court has halted all movement in same-sex adoption until the justices determine whether the adoptions — and by extension the marriages — are legal.
Malta Independent: “President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca signed the Civil Unions Bill yesterday, this paper has learnt. Ms Coleiro Preca was asked to sign the law after it was approved by Parliament on Monday evening.”
Reuters: “Wisconsin has adopted a law to limit private custody transfers of children, the first law of its kind in the United States, responding to a Reuters investigation that exposed the dangers of the unregulated practice.”
New York Law Journal: “A Queens man may legally adopt his husband’s biological twins even though they were born to a woman under a surrogacy agreement that is illegal in New York state, a Family Court judge determined. Judge Barbara Salinitro ruled that the best interests of the twins is the most important consideration in weighing the adoption petition of a man identified in court papers as ‘J.H.-W.,’ not that the surrogacy agreement that resulted in their birth is ‘void and unenforceable’ under New York law.”
Reuters: “The Maltese parliament approved a law late on Monday to recognise same-sex partnerships on a legal par with marriage, including allowing gay couples to adopt.”
The Salt Lake Tribune: “The state is asking the Utah Supreme Court to block orders of judges who approved adoptions for married same-sex couples so they are not able to get amended birth certificates for their children.”
Chicago Tribune: “Lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based Christian organization, are assisting in the defense of state bans in Oklahoma and Virginia and have submitted ‘friend of the court’ briefs in other cases, including the Tennessee dispute. Greg Scott, an Alliance spokesman, said his group seeks to counter sympathetic ‘micro’ narratives with a ‘macro’ argument. ‘What we argue is that marriage has a particular role in society as a whole,’ and that has historically meant only unions between a man and a woman.”
Associated Press: “Single mothers will no longer be able to travel to Utah to put kids up for adoption without first notifying their children’s fathers now that state legislators have changed a law that critics said cleared a path for kidnapping and fraud.”
LifeSiteNews: “The president of Malta, George Abela, has created shockwaves by citing “moral grounds” in refusing to sign a bill that would create homosexual civil unions and allow same-sex partners to jointly adopt children in the tiny Mediterranean country. Opposition politicians have accused the president of playing “divisive politics,” the Times of Malta reports.”
Associated Press: “They sued the state of Ohio and U.S. government after hours-long phone calls and months of trying to get a family plan through the federal insurance marketplace. Their attorney said Friday the couple obtained a family policy this week after going through the federal website, HealthCare.gov. Their plan takes effect in April.”
Associated Press: “Michigan won’t recognize more than 300 same-sex marriages performed last weekend before a court halted a decision that opened the door to gay nuptials, Gov. Rick Snyder said Wednesday.” | Gov. Rick Snyder’s statement is here.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette at Detroit Free Press: “[T]he Detroit Free Press Editorial Board is urging the State of Michigan’s chief legal officer to violate his oath of office, ignore the constitution and negate the will of the people. To be clear: I will uphold my oath, I will support the constitution and I will defend the will of the people. . . . Moreover, Michigan’s voters had a rational basis for their vote: Marriage has been understood to be between one man and one woman by virtually all civilizations throughout the centuries.”
Detroit Free Press: “The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday extended a stay on last week’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman that struck down the Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage.” | The Order is here.
Detroit Free Press: “Almost 19 years ago — long before most Michiganders could imagine a day when gay and lesbian couples would enjoy the right to marry and raise children together — U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman discovered that a social revolution was breaking out in his own chambers.”
Detroit Free Press: “That’s the predicament roughly 100 couples are in following an order late Saturday from the U.S. Sixth Court of Appeals, which issued a temporary stay of a lower court ruling that declared Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. The order didn’t come down until late in the day — well after roughly 300 same-sex marriage licenses had been handed out across Michigan.”
Reuters: “A U.S. appeals court on Saturday placed a temporary hold on a federal judge’s ruling that struck down Michigan’s ban on gay marriage, a move that followed hastily arranged and joyful wedding ceremonies in the state.” | The order is here. | Religion Clause has more.
Detroit News: “In his 31-page written opinion released shortly after 5 p.m. Friday, Judge Bernard Friedman said the constitutional amendment known as the Michigan Marriage Act, passed by the voters in 2004, was unconstitutional because it denied gays and lesbians equal protection under the law.” | The opinion is here.
The Detroit News: “A federal court ruling on whether the state’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional could come as early as Thursday, say observers of the case. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman is weighing the legal claims of a lawsuit filed by Hazel Park nurses April DeBoer, 42, and Jayne Rowse, 49, who are living as a couple and raising three special needs children they adopted as individuals.”
OSCR: “OSCR notes the Panel’s decision, and we have complied with it. We note that SCAP found that the charity does not discriminate unlawfully. . . . Taking all this into account, OSCR’s Board has decided that an appeal in this case is not justified.”
Associated Press: “A federal judge said he expects to make a decision within two weeks of Friday’s closing arguments in a challenge to Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage.”
Detroit Free Press: “The closing arguments — like the trial — focused largely on the topic of child outcomes and whether or not gays and lesbians can be good parents.”
Associated Press: “University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus testified for more than three hours as a witness for the state of Michigan, which is defending a ban on gay marriage. The constitutional amendment, approved by voters in 2004, is being challenged by two Detroit-area nurses in a rare trial.”
Deseret News: “Cindy Sanders didn’t bring her 18-month-old son to a Capitol news conference Friday where she and other married same-sex parents said the state is unjustly intervening in their adoption cases. But the Utah Attorney General’s Office says it didn’t seek to get involved but responded to judges’ requests for an opinion on the legality of same-sex adoption in light of the Amendment 3 case.”
dalje.com: “Deputies of the Opposition Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) said in Parliament on Thursday that the bill on life partnership was poor and unenforceable and that it would eventually enable same-sex partners to adopt children. Adoption turned out to be the most contentious issue in today’s parliamentary debate which at times drifted off the bill into ideological, political and other issues and statements.”
FOX 13: “The Utah Attorney General’s Office has told judges to either halt or reject adoption petitions filed by same-sex couples while it appeals a federal court’s ruling that overturned Amendment 3, FOX 13 News has learned.”
LifeSiteNews: “This week, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado in defense of a Tulsa, Oklahoma County Court Clerk. The clerk, Sally Howe, was sued by two women to whom she refused to issue a marriage license.”
Detroit News: “Their trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit. The case before Judge Bernard Friedman seeks to overturn Michigan’s marriage amendment, which defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. The amendment to the state constitution was approved by voters in 2004.”
Deutsche Welle: “The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe on Friday dismissed on procedural grounds a request from a Berlin district court to rule on whether gay couples living in a registered civil partnership could adopt children.”
The Telegraph: “The Supreme Court today ruled that Muslim personal law or any other religious code could not prohibit adoption by childless couples as such a right is vested in every Indian under the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act.”
Theos Think Tank: “The ruling of the Scottish Charities Appeals Panel (SCAP) that St Margaret’s adoption agency can keep its charitable status was always going to be overblown. For the National Secular Society, it is depicted as a major setback to the equality agenda, a shameful capitulation to homophobes. To some Catholics it represents a victory in an ongoing culture war against the secular liberal establishment. The truth conforms to neither narrative.”
Wall Street Journal: “The decree, signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and posted on the government’s website Thursday, also reiterates a ban on adoptions by same-sex couples who are in unions ‘recognized as marriages and registered in accordance with the law of a country where such marriages are permitted.’”
FOX News: “A dozen men are suing the state of Utah in federal court because of a law that allows mothers to put their babies up for adoption without the biological father’s consent, or sometimes even knowledge. The civil rights lawsuit claims the Utah Adoption Act has resulted in what amounts to ‘legalized fraud and kidnapping.’”
The Advertiser: “Under the judgment of 15th Judicial District Court Judge Edward Rubin, they are the first in the Louisiana to win a intrafamily adoption case involving same sex couples, Louisiana State University constitutional law adviser Paul Baier said.”
The Wichita Eagle: “The Kansas House has approved a bill aimed at keeping individuals, groups and businesses from being compelled to help with same-sex weddings. The House’s 72-49 vote Wednesday sends HB 2453 to the Senate.”
Idaho Statesman: “In a unanimous opinion that sets a precedent for gay and other non-traditional couples, the Idaho Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for Darcy Drake Simpson to adopt two boys who until now have had just one legal parent, Simpson’s same-sex partner Rene Simpson.” The opinion is here.
Scottish Catholic Observer: “The community of St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society has reacted with joy and relief after the Scottish Charity Appeal Panel today ruled that the agency can keep its charitable status and continue to operate.”
UPI: “Brooklyn Surrogate Court Judge Margarita Lopez Torres wrote in her decision the extra layer of legal protection sought by the couple “is neither necessary nor available” and would imply that ‘although legally recognized in this state, a same-sex marriage remains somehow insufficient to establish a parent-child relationship.’”
Ahwatukee Foothills News: “The Tempe Union High School District (TUHSD) Governing Board is the latest to find itself in the stew. Under its direction, an advisory committee is working on recommending sex education curriculum, a heavy task. . . . Johnson’s assignment won’t be easy. In recommending a plan, the committee must adhere to SB 1009 passed in 2012. It requires all instructional material, on sex education, to support childbirth and adoption as a ‘preferred option to elective abortion. ‘In fact, the Alliance Defending Freedom has warned the district that it will sue if SB 1009 isn’t honored.
Sarah Torre and Ryan T. Anderson at The Heritage Foundation: “Foster care and adoption policy should put the best interests of children first. Public policy therefore should seek to increase the likelihood of adoption by removing barriers to families that are seeking to adopt and providers that are seeking to place children in need of a home. Achieving this goal requires a public policy that provides freedom to the diverse groups that serve the needs of children. Provided these agencies meet basic requirements protecting the welfare of children, they should be free to operate according to their values, especially their religiously informed beliefs about marriage.”
Adam J. MacLeod at Public Discourse: “In particular, his expressed interest in fatherhood is difficult to reconcile with his administration’s attack on fatherhood during the last term of the Supreme Court of the United States. Perhaps no one in the administration appreciates that, when it successfully argued that the Court should redefine marriage in United States v. Windsor, the administration helped to eliminate the legal office of fatherhood from federal law.”
Fox News: “The Choose Life grants will enable recipient organizations to build on the good work they are already doing and help adoption become a reality for even more children and families in the Lone Star State,” Abbott said.
Christian Concern: The campaign reported that many of the 55 per cent are being deterred from adopting due to “myths about who can adopt” and that “many religiously-active people are held back from adopting because they often wrongly believe their faith will prevent them being approved.”
LifeNews: However, despite pro-life advancements, one pro-choice argument continues to surface and impact the convictions of Americans. It is the argument that justifies abortion because of problems within the family, such as child abuse and neglect.