A bill that would allow Michigan adoption agencies to discriminate against prospective parents on religious grounds has cleared committee and is heading to the statehouse.
On Tuesday, the Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors approved House Bills 5763 and 5764 in a 6-2 vote.
“By all accounts, our adoptive story is a perfect example of how children in need should find their way to loving families,” testified gay dad Kent Love-Ramirez before the vote. “Yet these bills threaten to allow bigotry and individual subjectivity to trump the state’s criteria for determining the eligibility of a family.”
Love-Ramirez and his partner, Diego, are raising 2-year-old Lucas, who was one of 14,000 children in the state’s foster care system.
Though Rep. Ken Kurtz (R-Coldwater) sponsored both bills, he says the exemption would only affect a handful of faith-based organizations:
“I don’t think anybody is questioning the ability of anyone to abide by the laws of this state to adopt,” said Kurtz, who chairs the committee. “The very, very few faith-based organizations that adopt on a religious basis are so few. We will not stop adoption. The door is wide open with privilege, and anyone can adopt if they want to adopt.”
Other supporters of the bills, which could go to a vote by the end of the year, tried to downplay their significance: “The legislation does not change or restrict how any adoptions are administered today,” said a representative from the Michigan Catholic Conference. “The bills simply recognize religious liberty rights and protect those rights from coercive efforts.”
Is there a single word of that statement that makes any sense? These bills codify discrimination, pure and simple. It doesn’t matter if it affects one child or 1,000.
If you want to help fight these odious measures, visit the Equality Michigan website.
Photo: Kent Love-Ramirez