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14
April

Michigan Bill Could Make it Legal for Adoption Agencies to Refuse Service

By Jeffrey M. Salassa

child visiting the office of a Clinton Township adoption attorney trying to contact the adoption agency

Adoption can be a great blessing for the couples and individuals who choose to adopt, but more importantly a blessing for those children given a family and home through adoption. Adoption can provide unlimited opportunities to children whose options and potential would otherwise be limited. Adoption, at its core, is meant to protect the best interests of disenfranchised children and provide them with the best possible living situation. However, what constitutes what is in the best interests of a child is hotly debated issue, especially as it pertains to adoptions by same-sex couples.

While same sex marriage (and divorce) is not yet recognized in the state of Michigan, this could change later this year as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to listen to arguments concerning the matter. Additionally, the Michigan House is currently considering legislation that could affect a same-sex couples’ ability to adopt. Recently, three bills passed the House Families, Children and Seniors committee which would allow faith-based agencies to refuse their services to anyone who does not adhere to their strongly held religious beliefs. This means that if an adoption agency did not agree with the concept of same-sex marriage it could deny a same-sex couple of its adoption services. The creators of the bills insist that they are simply attempting to protect the best interests of prospective adoptive children while those opposed to the bills argue that passage will effectively legalize discrimination against same-sex couples.

While the bills have been supported by several religious-based adoption agencies as well as the Michigan Catholic Conference, they have been vehemently opposed by Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and Equality Michigan as, is previously stated herein, they will effectively legalize discrimination.

Aside from the religious and philosophical issues raised by the proposed bills, one must not lose sight of the financial element of the legislation. In the 2014-2015 Michigan budget, $19.9 million in state funds went to adoption agencies for foster care and adoption service and about $10 million of that was directed to religious-based agencies, which would be covered under the new bills, giving these agencies strong incentive to push for the passage of the bills and maintain their stronghold on the adoption process.

Regardless of the outcome, the landscape of adoptions throughout the State of Michigan will be greatly impacted. Thus, if you have any questions about adoption, or if you are interested in trying to adopt in Macomb County, please contact Iafrate & Salassa for more information. We can help you realize the dream of starting, or adding to, your family. Call us today at 586-263-1600, or click here.

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