Adoption Agency Swinging Religious Liberty Laws In the Air And Suing New York for Right to Discriminate

A Christian adoption agency from Syracuse, New York is suing the state for the right to discriminate against same-sex couples, reports Think Progress.

Alliance Defense Fund, or ADF, is representing New Hope Family Services, the adoption agency mentioned above. ADF is an anti-LGBTQ hate group that has repeatedly attempted to impede equality in pro-LGBTQ cases. 

The ADF was founded in the early 1990s to defend religious liberty laws and to stop the ACLU's efforts to "immobilize Christians," and has since gained quite a folleoing and rose to become one of the most powerful Christian organizations in the United States. As such, it has a good number of allied (read: homophobic) attorneys at their disposal to defend their hateful rhetoric.

Recently, the Fund filed a lawsuit against the state of New York, claiming that the Office of Children and Family Services, or OCFS, are infringing upon New Hope's religious beliefs and are asking that a judge declare the OCFS' nondiscrimination policies as unconstitutional. 

New Hope's policy manual has a lovely and very direct section in which it flat out says that New Hope is discriminatory. The manual instructs people in same-sex relationships that want to adopt to call the Executive Director, who will explain that because New Hope is a Christian ministry," they "do not place children with same-sex couples." 

So, using loopholes, New Hope technically doesn't discriminate against same-sex couples by denying them adoption because same-sex couples shouldn't bother filling out an application. 

Officials in the state of New York has made it very clear that denying adoption based on marital status is discriminatory based on OCFS policy. The ADF asserts that the OCFS does not have the grounds to advance the regulations, as they believe that New York law does not include nondiscrimination protections by child placement services.

Fortunately, the ADF is wrong. In 2013, the OCFS explained that

The amendments also promote fairness and equality in the child welfare adoption program by eliminating archaic regulatory language that implies the sexual orientation of gay, lesbian, and bisexual prospective adoptive parents — but not of heterosexual prospective adoptive parents — is relevant to evaluating their appropriateness as adoptive parents.

That sure sounds like there are nondiscrimination practices. New Hope disagrees with these protections because they feel, despite evidence stating otherwise, that same-sex couples make unfit parents.

As someone living in the tristate area, I am fairly confident that the lawsuit filed by the ADF won't hold water because there are nondiscrimination practices already placed into New York law that say that adoption agencies can't discriminate against same-sex couples. In conjuction, New York has been reliably liberal for as long as I can remember (or at least NYC is) so refusing to give same-sex couples the same adoption rights as heterosexual ones would go against what many New Yorkers believe.

But I suppose we'll have to wait and see what happens.

h/t: Think Progress

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