Lansing Update: October 18, 2013
- Federal District Judge Orders Bench Trial for Michigan’s Marriage Amendment
- MCC Supports Work Visa Resolution
- Governor Approves Increased Funding for Administrative Rates of Private Foster Care Agencies
- The Word from Lansing: Preserving the Religious Liberty of Faith-Based Adoption Agencies
Federal District Judge Orders Bench Trial for Michigan’s Marriage Amendment
This week, Federal District Court Judge Bernard Friedman heard oral arguments in DeBoer v. Snyder, a lawsuit that challenges Michigan’s 2004 constitutional marriage amendment and the state’s adoption law. Michigan’s 2004 amendment defines marriage as between one man and one woman and the state’s adoption measure allows either a married couple or single person to adopt. The judge did not uphold or strike down the constitutionality of the measures this week. Instead, he called for a bench trial next February to hear further evidence from experts showing the state has a legitimate interest for preserving marriage between a man and a woman.
Michigan Catholic Conference has consistently stated publicly since the passage of the 2004 marriage amendment that marriage is the only civil institution that unites children with their mothers and fathers, and it must be preserved and strengthened for the common good of the state. MCC will continue to promote natural marriage legally and legislatively, and will also support the state Attorney General in his effort to uphold his oath of office to defend the state constitution. The trial is scheduled to begin February 25, 2014.
MCC Supports Work Visa Resolution
The House Michigan Competitiveness Committee on Wednesday considered House Resolution 108, sponsored by Representative Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), which would urge Congress to raise the cap on H1-B temporary work visas for immigrant professionals. The resolution would also encourage the elimination of the cap for those holding a master’s degree or higher from U.S. universities. MCC supported the resolution in an effort to encourage the expansion of safe and legal opportunities for foreign-born workers to enter the country. Additionally, language is included in the resolution so that future caps will be data-driven, taking into account the availability of American workers. To learn more about the Catholic position on immigration reform, click here.
Governor Approves Increased Funding for Administrative Rates of Private Foster Care Agencies
As mentioned in a previous Lansing Update, the Michigan Legislature recently considered and unanimously passed a bill to increase funding for the administrative rates of private foster care agencies, such as Catholic Charities. The 2013–2014 Fiscal Year budget included the allowance for increased funding, but House Bill 4961 was needed to put the increase into effect. This week, the bill was signed into law by Governor Snyder as Public Act 138. Michigan Catholic Conference is pleased to see this language adopted, which enhances the ability of agencies who serve Michigan’s most vulnerable children to continue their work as they always have.
The Word from Lansing: Preserving the Religious Liberty of Faith-Based Adoption Agencies
In September, Michigan Catholic Conference announced the launch of The Word from Lansing, a regular column written by MCC for Catholic news outlets. This month’s column highlights the need for legal protections for faith-based adoption agencies, which have long played a major role in partnering with the state to provide loving homes for Michigan’s children. To read the column and learn about what Michigan Catholic Conference is doing to support conscience protections, click here.
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