To settle a lawsuit, state officials in Michigan have agreed to stop entering into contracts with foster-care or adoption agencies that discriminate against same-sex couples or LGBTQ people.
Michigan was one of several states that allowed taxpayer-funded child-placement agencies to discriminate against prospective LGBTQ parents. The matter went to court after Kristy and Dana Dumont, a same-sex couple, sued the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Children's Services Agency after they were turned away by two religious child-placement agencies that refused to work with them, even though the agencies were taxpayer-funded and held contracts with the state.
The Dumonts, who were represented in court by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said they wanted to become certified foster parents and needed to work through one of the agencies to do that. The two said their goal is to adopt a child in state care.
Under the terms of the settlement, Michigan officials have agreed to end contracts with agencies that discriminate. But the state will take no action against private adoption agencies that don't receive state contracts, reported CNN.
"We are thrilled that the state of Michigan has committed to ensuring that all of the agencies it hires to find families for children in state custody comply with its non-discrimination requirements so that children do not lose out on families to care for them," said Leslie Cooper, deputy director of the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project.
Cooper added, "Our children need every family that is willing and able to provide them with a loving home.
When agencies choose to accept taxpayer dollars to provide public child welfare services, they must put the needs of the children first."
The settlement in Michigan came about in part because of political changes in the state. Former Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Republican, argued that child-placement agencies should have the right to discriminate even if they are acting on behalf of the state. But Dana Nessel, Michigan's new Democratic attorney general who took office earlier this year, disagrees.
"Discrimination in the provision of foster care case management and adoption services is illegal, no...