Will gay couples and hopeful parents turn to Bethany Christian Services now that it says it’ll turn toward them?
One of the U.S.A.’s largest foster care and adoption agencies announced Monday, March 1, that it will no longer discriminate against LGBTQ people looking to create a home for a child in need. According to the New York Times, Bethany Christian Services, a Michigan-based service built on the Evangelical faith, announced this change through an email to its 1,500 staff members.
The email, signed by company president and chief executive Chris Palusky, stated that the organization “will now offer services with the love and compassion of Jesus to the many types of families who exist in our world.”
From now only, the 77-year-old organization with offices in 32 states is changing its policy from referring gay prospective parents and fosters to other agencies.
“For the past 75 years, Bethany Christian Services has never wavered from our mission of demonstrating the love and compassion of Jesus to children and families,” Chris Palusky said in a statement. “We help families stay together, we reunify families who are separated, and we help vulnerable children find safe, stable homes when they cannot remain in their own.”
“These days, families look a lot different than they did when we started. And Bethany is committed to welcoming and serving all of them.” Palusky added. “For us to carry out our mission, we are building a broad coalition of people – finding families and resources for children in the greatest need. The people we serve deserve to know they are worthy of being safe, loved, and connected. The need is great, so we are taking an ‘all hands on deck’ approach.”
Many LGBTQ rights advocates have praised the decision. That includes April DeBoer-Rowse, who was one of the key figures in the landmark case that led to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to legalize same-sex marriage.
“It’s going to open up a world for kids who normally wouldn’t have a home, so it’s just fantastic,” DeBoer-Rowse said, according to NBC’s Wood8TV.
“My hope is that they are doing it for the right reasons and they are doing it for the kids,” she later added. “And I think it’s absolutely amazing that there will be an even bigger opportunity for children in the foster care system and in adoption to have permanent, safe and loving homes.”
In addition, this decision comes on the heels of the Supreme Court hearing arguments last November in the case of Fulton vs. the City of Philadelphia. The case is over whether it was legal for the city to cancel contracts with the agency after it refused LGBTQ people and same-sex couples due to religious beliefs.