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Federal court rules charities can refuse adoption to gay couples

Christian adoption agencies cannot be forced by the state to place adoptive children with same-sex couples.

In a ruling that affects adoption agencies nationwide, a federal judge handed down the decision in a case  of New Hampshire Family Services and attempts by the state of New York to close the ministry for refusing to assist homosexual couples. The Christian organization also does not adopt children to unmarried couples.

The New York Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) alleged the organization’s policies were illegal under state law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. State officials, supported by two Democrat governors, has worked for four years to permanently bar the charity from performing adoptions.

A three-panel of U.S. District Court Justices, however, disagreed with the state, ruling that New Hope Family Services’s policy was protected under free speech, a decision that echoed an earlier ruling by the court granting the charity temporary relief from the state’s actions.

“It is plainly a serious step to order an authorized adoption agency such as New Hope—operating without complaint for 50 years, taking no government funding, successfully placing approximately 1,000 children, and with adoptions pending or being supervised—to close all its adoption operations,” U.S. District Court Judge Reena Raggi ruled in granting the temporary injunction in 2020.

The Syracuse-based adoption agency won a permanent injunction from the court on Sept. 7, 2022.

It is similar to a decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court last year that government agencies could not refuse to contract with private adoption agencies that refuse to adopt out to same-sex couples based on their religious principles.

The ruling was based on the city of Philadelphia’s refusal to exempt a Catholic adoption agency from its anti-discrimination policies.

Christian organizations hailed the federal court’s ruling.

Mark Lipplemann, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom says that the court ruling will help charities in other states under the threat of a government shutdown for having similar policies.

“All across the country, government officials are attempting to silence and sideline people of faith,” said Lipplemann. “Now, New Hope can continue to provide critical services to children in need of safe, loving homes without being forced to violate its religious convictions.”

–Metro Voice and wire services

 

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