LANSING, Mich. (CBS DETROIT/ AP) — Grand Rapids District Judge Robert Jonker issued a preliminary injunction that religious-based adoption agencies who contract with the state of Michigan will be allowed to refuse to place children in LGBT homes.
Jonker blocked Democratic state Attorney General Dana Nessel — Michigan’s first openly gay statewide officeholder — from barring the faith-based agencies from excluding LGBT couples from services.
He said her action conflicted with state law, existing contracts and established practice. Nessel had, through a legal settlement between same-sex couples and the state Department of Health and Human Services, reversed the state’s stance earlier this year.
Michigan, like most states, contracts with private agencies to place children from troubled homes with new families.
Jonker, in issuing a preliminary injunction, said Lansing-based St. Vincent Catholic Charities’ longstanding practice of adhering to its religious beliefs and referring same-sex and unmarried couples to other agencies is not discriminatory.
Wanting to cancel the contract “strongly suggests the State’s real goal is not to promote non-discriminatory child placements, but to stamp out St. Vincent’s religious belief and replace it with the State’s own. … It would disrupt a carefully balanced and established practice that ensures non-discrimination in child placements while still accommodating traditional Catholic religious beliefs on marriage,” he wrote.
A spokeswoman for Nessel said her office was reviewing the decision to determine next steps.
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