LANSING (WWJ/AP) – The Republican-led state House has approved bills that would let faith-based adoption agencies refuse to participate in adoptions that violate their religious beliefs.

The House passed the package mostly along party lines Wednesday.

The package would also prevent state or local governments from acting against adoption agencies for such a choice, including refusing to issue a license or provide funding.

The legislation passed the House last session but didn’t receive Senate approval.

Bill sponsors say no one will be prevented from adopting in Michigan because referrals would be made for prospective adoptive parents if an agency chooses not to work with them.

Said Livonia Republican Laura Cox, who voted for the legislation:  “The faith-based agencies provide a well-established, valuable service to the state of Michigan, and all future generations in Michigan will benefit from this package.”

Republican Andrea LaFontaine, who represents Macomb and St. Clair counties, said the bill is not about who can and who cannot adopt a child.

“It’s about providing the most options for children who are awaiting their forever homes,” LaFontaine said. “We owe it to the children of this state to ensure they have every available alternative in finding a family.”

Democratic opponents, including Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) say it’s wrong to legalize faith-based discrimination in adoption.

She said this isn’t good for families looking to adopt — or children up for adoption.

“There are currently thousands of unadopted children in foster care,” Geiss said. “The bills will harm these children and the adults that could adopt them and provide loving, stable and nurturing environments for them.”

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has expressed concern that the legislation could lead to lawsuits.

TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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